New York – Everything was rather blurry in the Syracuse locker room, where the television cameras focused their bright lights and the journalists rushed to lean in and the questions kept coming for Matt Moyer.
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The Syracuse basketball forward vaguely recalled the hit that shook the crowd at Madison Square Garden and lit his running game in an orange uniform. He remembered seeing his parents sitting behind Syracuse's bench and how important it was for him to witness his 18-point, eight-rebound performance when SU defeated Connecticut 72-63.
He remembered the astonishment he felt upon entering the arena, where he had seen on television while Eric Devendorf was standing at a scorer's table and Syracuse-UConn fell into the tradition of basketball.
Moyer sat down and kept talking, still a little stunned apparently, by what had happened here.
"The story of the game was that Matt Moyer had a great game," SU coach Jim Boeheim had said in his postgame remarks, "He really had trouble all year, he hit the offensive boards, he got three offensive tips about the rebound basket, it was a big difference in the game. "
Moyer entered the garden with an average of 17.7 minutes, 2.4 points and four rebounds per game. He shot 37 percent in total and had not hit a three-pointer in two attempts. His start of Tuesday's game did not suggest that those numbers would be significantly altered. A little more than a minute into the game, he received a whistle for traveling.
For Moyer, that quick error gave a strange inspiration.
"I loved the trip, I thought the trip was amazing for me," Moyer said. "I got the ball and said," You know what, I need to be aggressive, just go, if you give it back, whatever it is, if you make a mistake, whatever. "My mentality after that was: "You know what? I can play with these guys. I can play at a high level. "And I was blessed to be able to do that."
In a matter of seconds, I was converting a pass from Oshae Brissett, and then I lined up a three in the falling corner. And then, with 12:12 remaining in the first half, it happened.
Brissett missed a corner three from the right side. And Moyer rose to the edge, untouched by any Husky, and threw a blow that made the Garden gasp. After it went off, Moyer threw his arms in celebration, with all his athletic fury evident on his face.
Matt Moyer flies for the return!
– Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) December 6, 2017
"I'm curious to know if that's going to be in the Top 10 of ESPN, that would be great, everybody has labeled it, that would be crazy, I do not even remember it, it was all fuzzy, I was just out of place, I do not know, I was right in an area today, "he said. later, with all the current of consciousness that was flowing.
There was more.
"Oshae fired and I was thinking," Why is nobody blocking me? Are you serious? "The ball came out and I think I cheered on somebody, I was like, & # 39; Wow! I think emotions escaped me … This is a special place: Madison Square Garden, it's a special place. "
His father, Fred, celebrated his birthday on Monday. Fred and Annette Moyer sat in the section reserved for members of the Syracuse family just behind Orange Bank and their son said that he was so happy, so full of emotion, to play so well with the assistance of his parents.
He has recognized his coach hardness in him this season. At one point during the postgame press conference, Boeheim mentioned that Moyer had been "horrible all year long and that I am kind." Horrible is a good word for what he has done.
Moyer said that Boeheim "told me how I was going to do it". train me. "I expected to hear the same scathing comments that previous players had endured, I expected to be kept to a certain standard, and yes, I expected to yell at him.
" No surprise. The coach has been doing this with guys who are now in the pros, "Moyer said." You can go to the list of all the professionals who got it. If you can get it, I can get it. It's no big deal. "
He prepared for Tuesday's game as if he was prepared for each of the other games this season, he wants, he said, to try to make an impact, provide relief for the rebound, be more than" a ball rotator. "On Tuesday, he drove the baseline and scored, re-took missed shots, two of which will find homes in prominent compilations, grabbed an important late rebound, took nine shots and made seven of them.
] "We just did the same things we were doing and he recognized better and came to the tables better," Boeheim said. "People are concentrating on Frank and Tyus driving and Oshae and he has to find those places where he can get to the area. open, especially in the glass. "
" What the coach told me is that I can not leave. there and do nothing, "said Moyer." I have to be aggressive. It's one thing for you to come out and make mistakes. But you have to go out and try to do something. You can not be just a ball rotator. At the beginning of the game, I noticed that UConn did not play me. They played 5 on 4. "
The 3-point attempt, he said, was about having "some balls" to take it, trusting that the shooting exercises he does every day with the assistant of SU Adrian Autry translates into something more than simple exercises.
While Moyer was sitting in that group of reporters late on Tuesday night, Boeheim stopped by and commented on the sudden popularity of Moyer, and Moyer and some of his Syracuse teammates laughed. His roommate, Tyus Battle, sat on the other side of the road and saw that the focus was on Moyer.
"He is our teammate, so we are very happy that he plays well and sees that things are going well, "said Battle. I know it really helped your confidence. "
"Tonight was an excellent player," Boeheim said, "and I think he can take advantage of this."
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