SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball survived a scare on Sunday night, defeating the Drexel Dragons inside the Carrier Dome 75-60. Syracuse struggled to defend outside shots in the first half, but tightened up in the second half to move to 2-0.
Jim Boeheim made no changes to his starting lineup, electing to go with Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Jimmy Boeheim, Cole Swider and Jesse Edwards.
Buddy Boeheim got going for Syracuse early with two quick triples and Edwards made his defensive presence felt with a block and a forced turnover as the Orange jumped out to an early 12-8 lead by the first media timeout.
On the other end, Drexel’s Mate Okros started 3-3 from deep as Syracuse’s perimeter defense struggled to close out on shooters. Rebounding proved difficult in the early going as well as SU allowed four offensive rebounds and seven second chance points in the first ten minutes, yet still held a 19-16 lead at the second media timeout.
From there, Drexel continued to shoot the ball well from distance. Trevion Brown connected on a pair of 3s and a mid-range jumper from Melik Martin gave Drexel a 28-23 lead. Edwards scored on the ensuing possession as the shot-clock wound down and Syracuse trailed 28-25 with 3:53 remaining in the first half.
Martin then hit a three for Drexel to make it 31-25. Syracuse answered with a 7-0 run as Edwards dunked, Jimmy Boeheim scored on a crafty reverse layup and Buddy Boeheim made a three, but Edwards had an illegal screen on what would’ve been Syracuse’s final offensive possession.
The turnover gave Drexel one last look and Camren Wynter hit a jumper to give the Dragons a 33-32 lead going into the break. Drexel shot 7-17 from deep in the first and out-rebounded Syracuse 16-14.
Syracuse came out of the half looking like a different team. The 2-3 zone tightened up and Swider and Girard connected on back to back 3s to initiate a 16-6 run. Jimmy Boeheim scored inside, Swider drove and finished and Edwards ran the floor and dunked, letting out a ‘Let’s go man!’ scream. He rejected a shot on the other end and gave a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag on the follow. Girard then scored on the other end as Syracuse scored 16 points before the first media timeout of the second half.
Drexel had one last response with its perimeter shooting and cut Syracuse’s lead back to six, but Swider answered for Syracuse and a Jimmy Boeheim three boosted the team’s lead back to double digits at 55-45 with 11:12 remaining. Syracuse never looked back after that.
Down the stretch, the Boeheim brothers carried the offense to help keep the Dragons at bay. Jimmy scored on a right-handed hook in traffic while Buddy hit a mid-range two and was fouled on a drive on the next play. He made two and gave Syracuse a 63-50 lead with 7:25 left.
Benny Williams had a notable highlight block, rotating from the weak-side of the zone and sending a shot attempt into the stands. With possession and the score at 69-52 in the final four minutes, Syracuse fans chanted ‘Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!’ and Buddy delivered with a baseline jumper to authorize free tacos for all in attendance. From there, Girard hit a three late to finish his night 3-3 from distance and Syracuse won going away.
Buddy Boeheim led Syracuse in scoring with 23 points to go along with 4 assists and 2 steals. Jimmy Boeheim had 14 points on 6-10 shooting. Joe Girard and Cole Swider had 11 points each. Jesse Edwards had 8 points, 4 rebounds and a career-high 4 blocks.
Syracuse shot 55.6% from the floor and 50% (8-16) from three. Drexel shot 42.3% from the floor and 37.0% from three. Drexel out-rebounded Syracuse 30-26. Syracuse forced 20 turnovers and turned the ball over 11 times.
Syracuse returns home to take on Colgate this Saturday. That game tips at 5 p.m. ET and will be streamed on ACCNX or ESPN+.