It wasn’t a perfect performance, but the Syracuse Orange took care of business in their opener by a score of 66-34 over the Eastern Washington Eagles. Frank Howard missed this one due to injury, but Oshae Brissett and the Orange supplied enough firepower to come away with the win.
The long ball was off for the Orange, but their tenacious defense and athletic playmakers helped move the Orange to 1-0. With that in mind, see three takeaways from the game below.
Jalen Carey is fast… like, really fast
Frank Howard will be the point guard for the Orange once he returns to full strength, but with Jalen Carey healthy enough to play in the opener, Syracuse was still able to throw a more than capable point guard out there when needed.
He may not have blown up the box score, but if you watched the Orange take on the Eagles, you sure had a tough time keeping up with Carey when he had the ball in his hands. The freshman point guard had an impressive finish in transition in the first half, which turned into a failed and-one opportunity, but in that one play alone, Carey’s speed was put on full display. That’s something Syracuse fans are sure to enjoy watching this year.
Marek Dolezaj is going to be an even bigger fan favorite this year
Marek Dolezaj quickly became the fan favorite last year, and in just one game, the Slovakian forward was back to his old ways. Dolezaj made hustle plays when he blocked a shot in defensive transition and dove out of bounds to save loose balls. His jumpshot looked improved too.
Dolezaj was a bit hesitant last year to shoot the ball from midrange and deep, but Dolezaj’s first five points tonight came off of a midrange jumper and a three-pointer, showing how versatile he can be in this offense. If Dolezaj is able to confidently shoot the three, then this Syracuse offense will open up even more driving lanes for their guards.
The press is working
The story in this one was points off of turnovers, and similar to the final score, Syracuse came out on top in that one by a large margin (33-8). The Orange were able to create 19 turnovers, mostly due to a stifling press and their size and athleticism at all positions. Off of makes, the Orange went into a full court press that utilized Oshae Brissett at the forefront.
His length created frustration for the Eastern Washington ball handlers, and once he got a hand on the ball, the rest was history. The Orange are going to win games with their defense once again this year, and the improved press will make them even harder to score on this year.