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Final score: Syracuse 77, Cornell 45

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NCAA Basketball: Cornell at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, Jimmy Boeheim hitting a three right in front of the Syracuse Orange benchh was cool. But once we got past that moment, SU got to work and beat the Cornell Big Red, 77-45.

To little surprise, Tyus Battle led the scoring for SU with 18 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Among the starters, Frank Howard and Oshea Brissett chipped in too. But it was nice to get a bench contribution as well. Geno Thorpe, Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe were all able to put up points while the outcome was still undecided.

As one might expect, the 2-3 zone was a bit hot and cold in game one. Things took a bit to get going, but once SU settled in, they were able to stifle Cornell shooters. Matt Morgan had 14 points, but Boeheim was really the only other player to hit from the floor. The younger Boeheim would add 11 points of his own.

With a major size advantage, Syracuse dominated the Big Red on the glass, 54-36, and were able to go up and get the misses from outside. Cornell tried the strategy that never works against the Orange zone (shoot all the threes forever) and they paid dearly for it, unfortunately for them.

NCAA Basketball: Cornell at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a rough first half, Matthew Moyer led the team in rebounds along with Brissett with 10 apiece. Sidibe and Dolezaj also got in on the action with six each. Paschal Chuwku had five.

While SU’s shooting wasn’t amazing as a team (just 41 percent from the floor and boosted by some garbage time), you do have to like what they did defensively in the second half. Yes, it’s just Cornell but they did stifle the Big Red on offense and help put significant distance between the teams over the final 20 minutes (the Orange only led by 11 at the half).

We’re not throwing parades, and there’s work to be done. But Syracuse is 1-0 on the season and looked alright in getting there. Not only did we extend our season-opening win streak to 14 games, but we also stretched the streak vs. Cornell to 38 wins now.

More recaps to come. The Orange host Iona next, on November 14.