The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team was able to survive a three-point barrage from North Florida on Saturday night, outlasting the Ospreys by a final score of 82-70.
North Florida’s plan of attack was apparent from the start, as Matthew Driscoll’s team came into the night as the leading three-point shooting team in the country. As a team, North Florida attempted 46 3s in the game and made 17 of them, but Syracuse was able to weather that storm behind the play from Elijah Hughes and Marek Dolezaj.
Hughes relieved Syracuse fans of their stand-and-clap duties right away by knocking down a triple to begin the game. Bourama Sidibe picked up two quick fouls and Marek Dolezaj moved to the center spot as Quincy Guerrier was the first player off the bench for Syracuse.
Robert Braswell also earned some run in the first half too. He made good on that appearance by connecting on a triple, his only shot of the contest.
Hughes was the steady presence throughout the first half though, scoring 10 points. Dolezaj was tasked with operating out of high-post against the North Florida zone. By and large, the Ospreys didn’t play him tight in the 15-foot range.
The junior forward was able to make plays from that spot as well as the short corner, exploiting the soft spots of the zone by finishing around the rim. Dolezaj also dished out out four assists in the first 20 minutes.
North Florida’s JT Escobar got it going from deep for his team. The Ospreys were able to get open looks from the perimeter and Escobar made Syracuse pay as he made 5-7 from three in the first half.
Still, Syracuse went into the break with a 35-33 lead.
Buddy Boeheim came out of the intermission and knocked down a three to start, but Carter Hendricksen responded with a three of his own. North Florida continued its plan of attack by launching from deep all game.
After a back-and-forth affair for much of the first eight minutes of the second half, Syracuse took control of the lead at 11:50 mark for good after a Dolezaj layup. Joe Girard followed that up a few possession later with a big triple that gave Syracuse a three possession lead.
Dolezaj stole the show in the second half though as he made plays for SU before fouling out. When he did, Quincy Guerrier came in a played well. Guerrier got on the glass and connected on a trio of and-ones.
The Orange pulled away down the stretch with Hughes making plays, including a crafty sequence in transition which included an in-and-out to a crossover with a lay over a North Florida player at the rim.
The Orange had five players in double-figures and moved to 2-0 on the week.
Areas of Interest
Elijah Hughes helped himself to some popcorn during the game. When you’re putting on a show like he has this season, you deserve a snack.
Good for you, Eli.
Is that Elijah Hughes or Paul Harris? pic.twitter.com/ZxmLzWxCsF— James Szuba (@JamesSzuba) December 22, 2019
Hughes was the leading scorer for Syracuse, finishing with 18 points and 4 assists. Dolezaj fouled out with 17 points (7-7 FTs), 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Buddy Boeheim had 16 points on 4-10 shooting from deep while Girard had 14 points, also on 4-10 shooting from distance. Guerrier had 10 points and 7 rebounds.
North Florida attempted 46 of its 55 field goals from three. The Ospreys finished 17 of 46 (37 percent) from downtown.
Syracuse will close out the non-conference schedule next Saturday against Niagara. That game tips at 7:00 p.m. ET from the Carrier Dome with streaming available on ACCNX.