Despite two bad losses last week, Coach Jim Boeheim kept the same starting lineup of Joe Girard III, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe.
The Orange started the game with four strong defensive possessions. They forced a shot clock violation on the first, Elijah Hughes blocked Iowa center Luka Garza at the rim on the second, Garza turned the ball over on the third, and the fourth was emphasized by a steal in transition followed by a behind-the-bank pass from Sidibe to Dolezaj for a dunk on the other end. That last play put the Orange up 4-0 not even two minutes into the game (Buddy Boeheim scored on a layup two possessions earlier).
But Iowa immediately responded with two three-pointers by Joe Wieskamp and some inside scoring from Garza. At the first media timeout with 15:28 left in the first half, the Hawkeyes led 10-7.
Quincy Guerrier then entered the game for Sidibe and made an impact on both ends of the court, scoring inside, rebounding, and playing physical defense. Both teams traded buckets for a while, neither one scoring at a high rate. Two three-pointers by Elijah Hughes helped put the Orange up 19-18 with 8:53 left in the first half.
The Orange didn’t hit another field goal for six minutes, only scoring on free throws, until Buddy Boeheim answered a three-pointer by Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon with one of his own, only for Joe Wieskamp to hit another three for the Hawkeyes on the other end. That put Iowa up 28-26 with 2:36 remaining in the half.
After Bohannon scored again with a two-point runner, Coach Boeheim called a timeout at the 1:47 mark and the Orange down 30-26. Out of the timeout, Dolezaj hit his first 3 of the season. Those were the last points scored of the half. Dolezaj also picked up his third foul of the game before intermission.
Syracuse entered halftime down 30-29 to Iowa. The Orange shot 37 percent from the field in the first half, led by Dolezaj’s 10 points. The Orange backcourt struggled in the first half, with the majority of production coming from the frountcourt. The Hawkeyes shot 34.4 percent, and Garza had 10 points in the first frame.
To start the second half, Garza hit a corner three-pointer just before the shot clock buzzer, and then Bourama Sidibe scored a dunk on the other end off a feed from Dolezaj. The Hawkeyes then started to heat up on offense, scoring inside and from the perimeter, and the Orange, reliant on a backcourt that had gone cold, fell behind as Iowa took control of the game.
An Elijah Hughes three-pointer with 8:46 left in the game ended a nearly eight-minute drought from the field for the Orange in which they only scored on two free throws from Boeheim. That made the score 56-41 Iowa. But Iowa wouldn’t go away, and outscored the Orange the rest of the way to win 68-54.
Dolezaj led the Orange in scoring with 12 points.
Syracuse shot 19-52 (36.5 percent) from the field. Iowa shot 26-61 from the field (42.6 percent). Garza had 23 points.
Syracuse will travel to Atlanta and face Georgia Tech at noon on Saturday. That will be the second of two early-season ACC matchups for the Orange before the regular conference slate begins.