Twice in a three-minute span, Tyus Battle found himself in a precarious spot: Final seconds bleeding off the shot clock, defenders clogging the paint and no quick outlet pass to make.Without having much time to think, the freshman trudged forward against Virginia’s defense and slid into a pocket of space. He unveiled a jump shot that had never been steadier in any game this season and sunk a pair of baskets with the shot clock flashing red zeroes.Both shots elevated a one-possession lead into two, and were essential in the most important half of basketball SU has played this season.“When the shot clock’s running out, I know it’s a 1-on-1 game,” Battle said. “Usually you have to look for your shot and make something happen. You can get to the line, hit your teammates for an open shot or create space to make your own shot.“I love moments like that.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAll afternoon, Battle seemed to be making the right choice with the ball in his hands. Most often that meant shooting it himself, leading to a career-high 23 points in Syracuse’s (15-9, 7-4 Atlantic Coast) 66-62 win against No. 9 Virginia (17-5, 7-3). When UVA’s vaunted pack-line defense turned away so many early Orange possessions, Battle was the first Orange player to find answers.He sunk two of Syracuse’s three 3-pointers in the first half, when nearly every other player was unsuccessfully trying for the same contested jumpers. John Gillon and Frank Howard struggled to get in the paint, forcing SU to try and create its own shots from deep. It hasn’t been a strength of this team all season, and it looked just as troubled in the first half.But Battle immediately began blazing a trail to erase a 12-point halftime deficit. He jumpstarted his 13-point second half with a 3 on the first possession.“It was great to see (Battle) answer the bell, because he had been kind of quiet the past couple games,” said Andrew White, who matched Battle’s 23-point performance. “He’s always there right on time. Tonight was his best game of the season.”Given how UVA hedges ball screens, SU had to change the way it ran its offense. Virginia defenders angled themselves toward the paint, blocking any passing lanes for the Orange to work the ball down low.The result was a frustrating passing game for Syracuse, aimlessly swinging the ball around the arc before one player decided his contested shot was better than anyone else’s. So in the second half, Battle led an SU offense that essentially abandoned the ball screen.He was unleashed to freely attack Virginia’s defense, either driving in for his own shot or faking one before making an outlet pass. The repeated attacks up the middle shuffled the Cavaliers’ defense around, and in almost a complete transformation from the first half, Syracuse’s offense was fluidly running against Virginia.Battle only shot 3-for-4 in the second half, but that was emblematic of the more selective attacks from SU that allowed it to shoot 73.7 percent from the field.MORE COVERAGEWhat we learned from Syracuse’s 66-62 comeback win over No. 9 VirginiaBoeheim’s 1,000th* win brings importance to a once-lost seasonJim Boeheim on unofficial 1,000 wins: ‘I know how many wins I’ve had’ Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman “He’s composed out there,” Tyler Roberson said of Battle. “For him to play big like that and score 20-something points, not a lot of freshman can do that.”The finishing touches of Battle’s afternoon came with 29 seconds on the clock and Syracuse clinging to a two-point lead. But contrary to the rest of the game, Battle wasn’t trying to knife through Cavaliers. He was still and composed at the free-throw line, where he had already missed twice from earlier.This time, both shots fell through. It wasn’t long after that when Syracuse fans swarmed the court, celebrating the momentous upset and milestone win for Jim Boeheim.On a day that will make headlines for the accomplishments by the 41-year head coach, Boeheim took a moment to acknowledge his star freshman guard. Because Battle, in a sea of optimism suddenly blanketing the Orange, is as promising as anything else Syracuse has going for it.“Tyus was great,” Boeheim said. “This is the best game he’s played. He was fabulous.” Comments
The Ghana Football Association President says Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye is to blame for the lack of concrete decision on bonsuses for the Black Stars in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.Kwasi Nyantakyi says management team has been denied involvement in bonus negotiations because of the Minister’s “Strange modern management style.”At a media briefing in Accra Tuesday, Mr Nyantakyi said the Sports Minister has disregarded the caretakers of the Black Stars because of his belief that they are siphoning state funds.”On the eve of the match with Uganda he had a meeting with players without management for well over three hours and at the end of the meeting the players did not have enough time to rest,” he said reprovingly.Mr Vanderpuye has had issues with members of the Black Stars management team over suspicion that they are not acting in the interest of Ghana.Relations between him and the FA President has been frosty since he was sworn-in as Minister by the outgoing President John Mahama. In August, 2016 Mr Nyantakyi had accused the Minister of engaging the media more than he did with the Football Association.”We do not have any problem with the Minister; he has chosen to engage us through the media [and] anytime we hear of any meeting between him and us, we hear it through the media,” he mockingly said.Mr Vanderpuye was also to state during a media interview in August that he has nothing against the FA and its leadership.He stated that “When the President swore me in as the Sports Minister, he told me to work to raise the image of football in Ghana high but people think I have problem with them.””I only want the right thing to be done,” he said. But the FA says the Minister has refused to do the right thing since he was put in charge of the Youth and Sports Ministry.Mr Nyantakyi said one of the FA conventions is that the management should be involved in decision making but the Minister’s style of leadership does not permit that.”He [had met the Black Stars] twice without our involvement. The first one was in Alisa Hotel and the second one in Tamale when we went to play Uganda,” he said, adding the three hour meeting could be partially blamed for the team’s poor performance.He, however, said a meeting has been scheduled between the team and the incoming government to finalise the arrangements regarding “financial issues and the bonus structure.”Mr Nyantakyi argued this is important for the players to know what they stand to gain or lose in the Gabon competition.