Non-Conference schedule complete- SU tops Eastern Michigan 62-47

Jim Boeheim with Tyus Battle and Frank Howard in the first half of Wednesday's win over Eastern Michigan (Niko Tamurian)

Syracuse's win over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night was a microcosm of the entire non-conference schedule.

It wasn't always pretty, but the Orange more often than not did what it had to do in order to win.

Syracuse beat its former assistant coach Rob Murphy's Eastern Michigan team 62-47 in front of 21,925 fans at the Carrier Dome. The largest crowd in town this season and the third largest in college hoops this year.

The first half saw Syracuse go ice cold from the field but its defense kept it afloat, tying Eastern Michigan at 24.

The second half saw the Orange stars take over and pull away for the 15-point win.

"Frank and Tyus drive the ship" Jim Boeheim said after the game. Battle scored 10 straight Orange points in a stretch that gave Syracuse some breathing room.

Still, the Eagles cut the gap to just two points at 43-41 with 10:02 left in the game.

That's when Frank Howard made some nice plays both shooting the ball and finding Oshae Brissett, Paschal Chukwu and Marek Dolezaj for baskets down low.

Chukwu finished with a career high 15 points thanks to nine made free throws.

His presence will be key going forward.

Freshman center Bourama Sidibe missed another game with injury, he's battling lingering effects of tendinitis in his knee and a sprained ankle suffered against Kansas back on December 2.

Boeheim said they've rested Sidibe for the last week and will try working him out this weekend before the ACC opener against Virginia Tech.

The difficult part about inserting Sidibe back in the lineup is if he plays in one more game he loses his chance to earn a medical redshirt, an opportunity that could be seen as squandered if he only returns for one or two more games the rest of the season.

It's a situation Boeheim and the medical staff are monitoring closely.

"I have no clue" Boeheim assessed on how it will pan out for Sidibe.

"“We are waiting. We tried resting him for a week and we are going to try to see if he can go a little bit this weekend. If he still has a lot of pain, we may wait a little longer. We are not going to play him unless we feel that he can play." he said.

From now until March, it's all ACC teams for the Orange starting with the opener on New Year's Eve.

Syracuse welcomes Virginia Tech for a 6:00 p.m. tip at the Carrier Dome.

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