The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team got their exhibition season started with a 80-49 win over the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights on Thursday. Injuries prevented the Orange from having their complete lineup on the floor (Frank Howard, Howard Washington, and Jalen Carey were held out), but the depth and talent on this year’s roster proved evident in the Carrier Dome.
Coach Jim Boeheim sent out a starting lineup that featured Tyus Battle, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Oshae Brissett, and Paschal Chukwu. Marek Dolezaj was the odd man out in this one, but that allowed Syracuse to have more perimeter shooting with Boeheim and Hughes. Howard is sure to slide into the starting lineup once he returns to full health, but it was interesting to see the different kind of lineups the Orange can throw out there this year.
Hughes got the scoring started for the Orange with a dunk off of a steal, and the home team didn’t look back from there. He seemed to fit nicely with any lineup he was put with (finishing with 19 points), as he spaced the floor and created shots off the dribble—something the orange really could’ve used last year.
Boeheim, the new fan favorite it seems, also made his shooting known with his quick trigger from deep. The noise around Boeheim has been about his lethal shooting ability, and his buzzer beating three to end the first half solidified that. Boeheim isn’t just a stand-and-shoot shooter though. He can also beat his man off the dribble and use his soft shooting touch to pull up from midrange — the sharp-shooting freshman finished with 19.
Brissett and Battle, the two standouts from last year, struggled to get the ball to fall, but both were able to get to the line. Battle and Brissett finished with seven and 22 points, respectively.
The second half saw more shots start to fall from deep, as Boeheim and Hughes kept their hot start going. Having Brissett and Dolezaj cutting through the lane makes it hard for the opposing defense to keep track of the perimeter shooters.
Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe did a good job manning the middle of the zone, as they used their size to an advantage, especially against a smaller Golden Knights squad. The blocks stood out on the stat sheet (the two combined for 5 blocks), but it was the effort plays, such as Chukwu’s heroic dive into the stands to attempt to save a loose ball, that got the Carrier Dome on its feet.
The Orange went into a press on made shots, which allowed their length to create turnovers, helping them get easy shots in transition. Having athletes such as Battle and Brissett running at you on the fast break is a scary site to say the least.
It’s always nice to start the “season” with a win, and SU will look to finish out exhibition play with another one next Wednesday against the Le Moyne Dolphins.