Syracuse, N.Y. — On Saturday night, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team played Daemen College in its first of two preseason exhibitions games.
Syracuse followed the same starting lineup as its preseason tour of Italy in August: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Quincy Guerrier, and Bourama Sidibe. But unlike the Italy trip, fans got a look at Marek Dolezaj and John Bol Ajak for the first time this season against an opponent, as Dolezaj had a finger injury and John Bol Ajak did not travel with the team due to a visa issue.
The Orange and Wildcats traded baskets for the fist several minutes until Syracuse picked up its scoring in the first half when the bench checked in. Jesse Edwards fueled the fast break with rebounds, a block, and a steal, and contributed on offense with a layup and an offensive rebound and kickout to Brycen Goodine for an open three-pointer. Robert Braswell made an impact on both ends of floor as well: he blocked Daemen’s 6-foot-9 center Andrew Sischo at the rim, had a steal, and contributed a couple of three-pointers and two free throws on offense. Joe Girard III hit two three pointers as well in the early going.
The Wildcats kept pace with Orange from outside in the first half, hitting six three-pointers, but couldn’t handle Syracuse on the inside. The teams entered the half at 47-28, Orange. Elijah Hughes led the way in the first half with nine points, followed by Braswell with 8, and Guerrier and Girard III each with six.
Daemen started the second half with a three-pointer, a steal and layup off an inbounds, and then another steal, causing Jim Boeheim to call a timeout. After another turnover by Goodine on a pass to Boeheim in the corner, the Orange finally responded. Hughes hit several three-pointers, including one that was fouled (he missed the free throw), and Boeheim and Goodine each hit three-pointers, making it 64-39 in favor of the Orange with 14:28 left.
Girard III and Braswell then checked in, and continued the Orange’s offensive show. Girard threw an alley-oop to Braswell and then hit a three-pointer. Later, Braswell hit a three of his own en route to a strong showing. The Wildcats countered the Orange’s scoring with three-pointers and jump-shots down the stretch, keeping the deficit under 20 at 75-60 with 7:13 left in the game.
Still, it wasn’t enough to overcome Syracuse as the Orange got enough points, primarily from Hughes and Braswell, on the way to a 90-71 victory.
Elijah Hughes led the Orange with 24 points, followed by Braswell with 17. Guerrier, Boeheim, Carey, Goodine, and Girard III all had eight points.
Breon Harris led the Wildcats with 23 points. Daemen shot 37.3 percent from the field, including 14-32 (43.8 percent) from 3.
Syracuse did not play any man-to-man defense in the game. The Orange shot 57.9 percent from the field, including 15-33 (45.5 percent) from three-point range. The Orange out-rebounded the Wildcats 38-23. One area of concern, though, was the turnovers: Syracuse committed 20, while Daemen only had 11.
The Orange will return to the Dome for an exhibition game against Carleton on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. before starting the regular season at home against Virginia on Nov. 6.