Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team earned its third win in as many tries, handling Rider by a final score of 87-52 in the Broncs’ first game of the season. The Orange tied a program record with 15 made 3-pointers and moved to 3-0 on the year.
Syracuse was once again without Buddy Boeheim, who was named to the contract-trace group after a walk-on tested positive for COVID-19. Bourama Sidibe was out after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Rider came out of the gate and showed zone and Syracuse took advantage, starting red hot from the perimeter. Kadary Richmond made his first shot from deep. Alan Griffin followed suit and made one from distance as well. Then he made another. Then another. Griffin hit four consecutive 3s to give Syracuse an 18-6 lead. Griffin’s shooting was part of an 11-0 run that gave Syracuse a 23-6 lead halfway through the first 20 minutes.
Notably, Joe Girard found his shooting touch for the first time in three games. He connected on four first half 3s.
The 2-3 zone was active for the second game in a row. Richmond in particular stood out in the zone, anticipating reads and stepping into the passing lane. He had two steals in the first half, as did Griffin. The Orange scored 13 points off turnovers in the first, forcing nine Rider turnovers.
Woody Newton was the first player off the bench against Rider and he delivered with nine first half points on 3-4 shooting from outside to go along with four rebounds.
Syracuse as a team shot 12-18 from beyond the arc in the first half alone and did a nice job of sharing the ball against Rider’s changing defenses. Syracuse assisted on 14 of its 17 made field goals and took a 49-29 edge into the half.
Both teams came out flat after halftime as Syracuse and Rider traded stops as well as turnovers. The Orange maintained its 20-point cushion, however, with score at 54-34 after the first four minutes.
After a first half that was largely perimeter oriented, (both teams combined to only score 10 points in the paint) Syracuse began to work inside. Guerrier and Dolezaj scored down low and Syracuse earned trips to the free throw line as well.
With the inside game established, Girard connected on a pair of 3s. He finished his night shooting 6-12 from beyond the arc. Guerrier later tied the program record with 15 3s on his first make of the night from deep.
Boeheim once again had a comfortable margin to experiment in the second half. Griffin and Newton played the top of the zone at various points in the game. He gave Frank Anselem and John Bol Ajak some extended run in the second half — the bench closed out the game as Syracuse cruised to a comfortable 35 point win. Rider shot 29.3% from the floor and 25.9% from deep in its first game of the season.
Griffin led the way in scoring for Syracuse with 23 to go along with five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Girard finished with 21 points, five assists and five turnovers. Guerrier had 11 points and seven boards. Newton fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
Syracuse will take on Rutgers as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday. That game tips at 9:30 p.m. ET from the RAC and airs on ESPN2.