After starting the season 3-0, the Syracuse Orange had its toughest test of the young season as it hosted the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. The Orange refused to buck the trend and once again got off to a slow start. Nevertheless, the end result was the same and Jim Boeheim’s club handled business 70-54.
Syracuse quickly fell behind 7-2 but despite the inauspicious start, Frank Howard was able to settle the team by going on his own 4-0 run on back-to-back jumpers. From there Syracuse dug in on the defensive end while Tyus Battle got things going on the other. Battle did the heavy lifting offensively in the first half — he gave out 16 points on 11 shots and Syracuse took a 39-25 lead into the break.
The second half started synonymously with the first as Syracuse missed its first four shots after the intermission and turned the ball over three times before its first bucket, a Paschal Chukwu tip-slam.
Chuwku continued his inspired play throughout as he blocked shots, rebounded the ball and dunked with alacrity. He threw down four slams in the contest. Syracuse was able to create some separation as the half went on as Frank searched for his offense. Oakland never seriously tested Syracuse thereafter.
With Chukwu in the middle blocking shots and the wings helping on the glass, Syracuse built its lead and closed things out. Battle led the way in the scoring column and finished his night with 25. Frank scored 18 points of his own while dishing out 6 helpers to go along with 2 boards and 2 steals. Chuwku flirted with a triple-double by scoring 12 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking 8 shots.
Oshae Brissett finished with 11 points and 9 rebounds while Marek Dolezaj stuffed the stat sheet once again with 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.
With the win Syracuse moves to 4-0 on the season. The Orange will have a quick turnaround as it hosts (holy) Toledo on Wednesday. That game tips from the Carrier Dome at 7 pm.