Battle’s 3 at buzzer gives Syracuse 82-81 win over Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Syracuse so far this season has overcome big deficits to win and rise toward the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Clemson has lost heartbreakers to free fall toward the bottom.
The script didn’t change Tuesday night as Tyus Battle hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Orange an 82-81 win over the Tigers.
Tyler Lydon drove the lane and the Tigers collapsed, allowing Lydon to find the freshman wide open in the right corner to give Syracuse (16-9, 8-4 ACC) its fifth win in a row – with the last three coming in games the Orange were down at least 12.
Clemson didn’t realize Battle was in the game, a mistake Clemson coach Brad Brownell said happened when either the scorer’s table erred or his staff missed that Syracuse big man Tyler Roberson was on the bench. Center Sidy Djitte stayed to stop a possible tip in against the Tigers (13-10, 3-8)
”We’re in trouble because he isn’t use to guarding perimeter players that often,” Brownell said. ”He leaves the shooter and we lose on a last second shot.”
Battle had made just one of six shots before the winning 3, including missing a wide open layup with Syracuse down 76-74 with under two minutes to go.
”I thought it looked good. I didn’t make a lot of shots the whole entire game. So I was like I have to make that one for all this stuff to be forgotten,” Battle said.
Andrew White led the Orange with 23 points. Lydon added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Jaron Blosssomgame scored 20 points, leading five Tigers in double-figures.
But it was another heartbreaking loss for the Tigers (13-10, 3-8) who have now lost a pair of 1-point games in the ACC, a 3-point game in overtime and a 4-point game, all at home.
Syracuse: The Orange have put themselves back in NCAA tournament consideration by winning five in a row in the ACC. The schedule down the stretch is tricky with ranked Louisville twice and Duke as well as better than expected Georgia Tech and last place Pittsburgh. White came into the game tied for the scoring lead in ACC games with Pittsburgh’s Jamel Artis at 20.5 points a game.
Officially, Tuesday’s win was the 900th of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s career. But Boeheim celebrated after Saturday’s victory over Virginia Tech because unofficially that was his 1,000th win . The NCAA forced Boeheim to vacate 101 wins in 2015 because of rules violations. Boeheim is now two behind Bob Knight’s 902 wins for second place all-time in Division I.
Clemson: Non-conference wins over South Carolina, Alabama and UNC-Wilmington have kept the Tigers on the NCAA tournament bubble despite a 3-8 ACC record. Clemson shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) – its best percentage this season in an ACC game.
”Clemson is a good team. But they’re not a 54 percent shooting team,” Boeheim said. ”We’re just letting people score.”
The Clemson win was the least dramatic of Syracuse’s three straight comeback wins. They came back from 10 down in the second half against No. 9 Virginia and 16 down with 8:44 to go in regulation in an overtime win over North Carolina State.
Boeheim was asked if he had ever seen this in his 41-year career, which includes 32 NCAA tournaments, five Final Fours and a national title in 2003. ”We were better then. We didn’t get behind that much,” he joked before pointing out his team was down 10 plenty earlier in the year and just stayed down.
Six of the Tigers eight ACC losses have come by five points or less, causing some soul searching in the Tigers locker room.
”We’ve just got to know basic basketball principles. We’re up two points We can give up a layup. We can take the game into overtime. We can’t allow any 3s,” said Donte Grantham who was nearly the hero after his jumper from the foul line put Clemson up two with 6.2 seconds left. ”We’ve got to get tough. We’ve got to find some way to grit out these close games.”
Syracuse: The Orange travel to last-place Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Clemson: The Tigers travel to No. 18 Duke on Saturday.