In the second contest of this year's Jimmy V Classic, Syracuse (7-1, 0-0) hung on against longtime adversary UConn (6-3, 0-0), 72-63, in the familiar venue of Madison Square Garden.
These two teams share one of the most tenured rivalries in college basketball, and the Orange entered this contest with a 55-38 all-time record against the Huskies. The Huskies got the better of the Orange in their last meeting, winning 52-50.
In the rivalry's return to Madison Square Garden, the Orange got one back.
Just a few days ago, Syracuse fell 76-60 to No. 2 Kansas in the HoopHall Miami Invitational for their first loss, while UConn was coming off two consecutive overtime victories against Columbia and Monmouth.
Syracuse got back to their winning ways behind the dominance of their zone defense, and behind the breakout performance of an unlikely hero.
Matthew Moyer, a red-shirt freshman who sat out last year due to injury, entered this contest averaging just over 17 minutes per game and just over 2 points per game. He had just 17 points on the season.
On Tuesday Night, Moyer broke out for 18 points on 7-9 shooting in 36 minutes, surpassing his season point total and ultimately providing the energy that carried this team to victory.
Going into this game, Moyer had struggled to find his niche on the offensive end, and it was reflected in his playing time. After an early three-pointer and a pair of electrifying put-backs off offensive rebounds, it was clear that he had regained his confidence, and the confidence of Head Coach Jim Boeheim.
On the other side of the ball, Syracuse's zone defense continued to show why it's among the country's best. They entered the game as the nation's 24th best defense, as they have held opponents to 62.0 ppg so far this season. UConn's 63 points were right on cue.
Anchored by the strength and experience of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard at the top, Jim Boeheim's notorious zone claimed another victim, as the length and agility from top to bottom prevented the Huskies from ever establishing offensive momentum.
Whenever UConn found a groove offensively, Tyus Battle was there with an answer. He led the Orange with a team-high 22 points on 8-18 shooting, once again proving himself as one of the most talented guards in the ACC and the lifeblood of the Syracuse Orange.
The Orange will look to improve to 8-1 when they host Colgate in the Carrier Dome this Saturday at 2:00.