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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Tyus Battle scored 22 points, freshman Buddy Boeheim had a season-high 13 points, and Syracuse beat Pittsburgh 74-63 on Saturday.
Syracuse (13-5, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) rebounded from a bad home loss to Georgia Tech a week ago to beat undermanned No. 1 Duke in overtime on the road Monday night. The Orange throttled the Panthers with a 22-4 surge in a span of just over seven minutes in the second half to take command.
Pittsburgh (12-6, 2-3 ACC) was coming off a 75-62 home win over No. 11 Florida State on Monday, its first victory over a ranked team in nearly two years. But the Panthers still haven’t mastered the road. They’ve lost 17 consecutive road games, including 14 in ACC play. Pitt’s last road win was an 83-72 victory against Boston College nearly two years ago.
Oshae Brissett added 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks for Syracuse, and Paschal Chukwu had 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Jared Wilson-Frame led Pitt with 19 points and freshman Xavier Johnson had 17. The other two-thirds of Pitt’s standout freshman trio, Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney, didn’t fare so well against the Syracuse zone, which registered 10 blocks. McGowens, who suffered an injury near his right eye in the first half, finished with seven points, 10 below his average, and Toney also had seven as they combined to shoot just 5 of 23.
Syracuse went 11 for 25 on 3-pointers against the Blue Devils, who were ranked fourth in the nation in defensive efficiency. The Orange finished 12 of 26 against the Panthers, who were 11 of 35 from long range.
With Syracuse clinging to a 28-25 halftime lead, both teams struggled to start the second, Pitt finally getting its first points of the period on a tip-in by Malik Ellison. That was Pitt’s lone basket in the first seven minutes as the Orange went on a 12-0 run to stretch their lead to 13 points.
Elijah Hughes broke through first for Syracuse with a 3-pointer from the top of the key less than a minute later. Frank Howard then followed with another 3, Battle hit a reverse layup off a pretty feed under the basket from Marek Dolezaj, and Battle fed Chukwu for a two-handed slam dunk that gave Syracuse a 40-27 edge with 12:18 to play.
A slam dunk by Hughes and a 3-pointer from Battle extended the lead to 45-30 midway through the half. The Panthers rallied to within 59-49 on a 3 by Johnson, but a slam dunk by Brissett and a corner 3-pointer by Boeheim restored the 15-point lead.
Syracuse hit five 3-pointers, two by Boeheim, to key a 19-4 run in the first half and build a 12-point lead. Battle’s jumper with 2:31 left gave the Orange a 28-16 lead.
Unfazed, Pitt responded with a 9-0 spurt to close the half, keyed by 3-pointers from Johnson and Wilson-Frame.
The teams combined to hit just 20 of 56 shots in the slow-paced opening half as Johnson and Wilson-Frame each scored 10 points to keep the Panthers close.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers, who went winless in the conference last season under former coach Kevin Stallings, are well ahead of last year under Jeff Capel, but they have to figure out a way to win on the road to take that next step.
Syracuse: The Orange had to take advantage of their big overtime victory at top-ranked Duke on Monday. Games against two more ranked teams loom – Virginia Tech on the road and Florida State at home – to provide more chances to beef up the Orange’s resume for postseason consideration.
Pittsburgh: Hosts Duke on Tuesday night.
Syracuse: Hosts Miami on Thursday night.
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