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Syracuse 89, Le Moyne 52: Orange close exhibition play with a win

Let the (real) games begin

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orange Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the sloppy start, the Syracuse Orange closed out exhibition play with an 89-52 win over the Le Moyne Dolphins. The Orange started off the game with some careless turnovers which turned into a few disoriented possessions on defense, leading to a quick 9-2 lead for the Dolphins.

However, the Syracuse basketball team quieted the early Le Moyne run with a few and-one opportunities and long-range shots of their own. Elijah Hughes got the scoring going for the Orange with 16 points in the first half (he finished the game with 21), as once again the transfer guard looked fluid in coach Jim Boeheim’s offense.

Hughes’ ability to pull up off of a screen is another deadly weapon for the Orange this year, but it’s his ability to catch and shoot from deep that will open up driving lanes for Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Battle missed his first two shots of the game, but the star guard found his rhythm by getting to the line and finishing an and-one play. Battle is still running an unusual position for himself, playing point guard due to the injuries to all three point guards who are still sidelined for now.

Brissett came out looking to score in this one, as the Orange looked for him on the block and the high post due to the mismatches he created every time down the floor. We all know Brissett can get to and score at the rim, but he’ll become one of the nation’s best players if he’s able to knock down threes consistently.

The 6-foot-8 forward finished the game with two threes. He’s an automatic mismatch on offense, and his 12 first half points (14 points total) confirmed that tonight.

Marek Dolezaj made some exciting plays off the bench in this one; his tenacious style is back again for his sophomore campaign, but it was the corner three Dolezaj hit in the first half that got Syracuse fans excited. If Dolezaj is able to confidently shoot threes, then coach Boeheim will have a whole new aspect to his offense that could prove deadly for opponents.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Dolezaj will always be known for making the winning plays that don’t show up on the box score, but tonight he proved that he is more than just a “hustle” player with his nine points.

Battle started to get into a better rhythm in the second half, as he get to the rim with ease, which opened up the rest of his offensive arsenal. Two of Battle’s 13 points on the night came off of a thunderous dunk in transition following an emphatic block by Hughes.

After an impressive first exhibition game, Buddy Boeheim continued his quality offensive play with 13 points. His ability to stroke it from deep will make it hard for coach Boeheim to keep him off the floor.

With exhibition play now in the books, the Orange will begin their real 2018-2019 campaign Tuesday night against the Eastern Washington Eagles. The talent is there for the Orange to make a lot of noise this season—now it’s time for them to put it all together.