Heading into Thursday night's game against Florida State, Syracuse hadn't finished a single game this season shooting above 50 percent from the field. When the clock finally hit zero, the Orange had not only put up a new season high in points scored with 85, they finished with an astonishing 62 percent from the field, and 47.1 percent from behind the arc.
Any concerns that Syracuse would be rusty coming off of an eight day layover were immediately put to rest within the first few minutes of the Orange's 85-72 win, as Syracuse started off hot and only got hotter.
The Orange made five of their first six shots and never looked back. After shooting just 38.5 percent from the field in their previous win against Virginia Tech, Syracuse's shot selection was much more efficient Thursday. Rather than settling for contested shots or deep two-pointers, the Orange were able to move the ball with ease and finish with plenty of open looks.
Starting point guard Michael Gbinije once again led the way, finishing with 22 points on seven-for-eight shooting from the field and four-for five from the three-point line. In addition, Gbinije also led the Orange with eight rebounds, to go along with three assists and a steal.
"It was huge for us to, you know, get our foot on the pedal early," Gbinije said after the game. "And as soon as we got the lead we just kept it going and came out with a W."
Syracuse's star freshman duo in Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon continued their recent surge in play. Richardson finished with 17 points on six-for-10 shooting from the field and one-for-three from behind the arc. The 6'6" freshman also led Syracuse in both assists, five, and steals, three, as well as recording six rebounds. Lydon finished with a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds on five-for-seven shooting, he also was perfect from the free throw line – a rarity for the Orange.
The only Syracuse player who seemed to struggle with his shot was surprisingly shooting guard Trevor Cooney, who finished with only 10 points on three-for 11 shooting from the field and two-for-seven from behind the arc. Not counting Cooney's poor shooting night, and Syracuse would have finished with an astronomical 72 percent from the field.
With three of their next four games against Louisville, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina, the Orange will need to continue to shoot the ball well if they want to cement their place in the NCAA tournament.
Watch highlights of Syracuse's blowout win over Florida State below: