Syracuse came into today licking its wounds from last Sunday's loss and a 7-3 record. By all accounts, this wasn't a must win game but it was certainly a game the Syracuse Orange couldn't afford to lose. Syracuse let Cornell hang around in the first half but then pulled away in the second half to beat Cornell 67-46.
Cornell was able to hang with Syracuse for much of the first half and only trailed by four going into halftime. Kaleb Joseph saw some early action in the first half and was able to take advantage on the defensive end by getting two steals while also dishing out three assists. Frank Howard didn't play in this game after earning some time in Syracuse's last three games.
Trevor Cooney got going in the second half by hitting back to back threes, both of which were assisted by Michael Gbinije. Cooney finished the day with 10 points by going 3-7 from range.
The defense picked up in the second half as the Orange limited the Big Red to only 20 second half points. After drilling defense all week in practice, Syracuse looked sharp in the 2-3 zone and also controlled the glass 48-27. Tyler Roberson finished with a double-double, the eighth of his career, by scoring 15 points and pulling in 12 rebounds. Malachi Richardson added 15 points and eight rebounds of his own.
At the 6:13 mark, Roberson looked like he sprained his ankle. That will be something to watch going forward.
Mike Hopkins elected to stick with the Gbinije, Cooney, Richardson, Roberson and Tyler Lydon lineup for most of the second half. That lineup -- which has the highest plus/minus of any other lineup -- remained in the game until 49.4 left in the game even with a double digit lead down the stretch.
Syracuse will host Montana State on Tuesday. That game tips at 7:00 p.m.