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Three takeaways from Syracuse’s 89-77 win over Canisius

Syracuse handled Canisius in the Battle of I-90 to move to 2-0 on the season.

NCAA Basketball: Canisius at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team handled the Canisius Golden Griffins 89-77 on short rest to move to 2-0 on the young season. Syracuse star Judah Mintz finished with a career-high 26 points and JJ Starling had a career-high seven assists.

Benny Williams was unavailable as he remained suspended for violating team rules. In a game where the JMA Wireless Dome video feed was used for streaming on ACCNX/ESPN+, Syracuse wore its unanimously loved script uniforms for the second straight game. The jury is still out if the dome video feed is received similarly.

Syracuse shot 35-65 (53.8%) from the floor while Canisius shot 31-64 (48.5%). There’s still plenty of aspects to work through, but Syracuse led the entire way against the Golden Griffins. The Orange have yet to trail in a game this season.

To the takeaways.

Syracuse backcourt reigns supreme

This game was a little too close for comfort until midway through the second half when Mintz took over. He went on a self-sustained 11-3 run that included three (!) and-ones. Mintz completed a four-point play after making a three and being fouled. He had a pair of old fashioned three-point plays after that. The Mintz run gave Syracuse a 74-59 lead that prevented the Golden Griffins from threatening down the stretch.

JJ Starling matched Mintz’s 8-15 effort from the floor and finished his night with a career-high seven assists. Mintz put up 26 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. Starling finished with 17 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Mintz was 8-9 from the line while Starling was 1-5.

It’s the kind of play one would expect from the two highly touted backcourt starters. Adrian Autry will need that kind of play from his guards with Colgate looming.

Syracuse backcourt review: Two thumbs up.

Canisius v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Ebert and Roeper.

Three up, three down

Syracuse was able to shoot it at a satisfactory clip from outside in this game. The Orange haven’t shot it well in the early going (including preseason) in limited attempts, but against Canisius the Orange shot it 7-19 (36.8%) from outside, including 5-11 in the first half.

This won’t be a team that takes high volume threes, but if Syracuse can knock them down at a mid-30s percentage clip that’s a good sign. It’s also assuring that Syracuse was able to get three point production outside of Justin Taylor and Chris Bell. Mintz made a pair of threes and Kyle Cuffe knocked one down.

On the other side of the ball, Syracuse allowed Canisius to shoot it 10-22 (45.5%) from outside. Granted, a few of those came from Tre Dinkins pulling in one-on-one scenarios, but Syracuse hasn’t always looked alert defending the three point line. It’s early, but still something to monitor.

Board up that (loud)house

It is a slight concern that Syracuse finished even with Canisius in the rebounding category at 37 a piece. The Orange gave up 16 offensive rebounds for 16 second chance points. In theory, the man-to-man defense should help shore up some of the 2-3 zone’s rebounding issues of recent years.

Naheem McLeod had nine rebounds in just 18 minutes and with Syracuse going “small” the other 22 minutes of the game (note: Peter Carey and Mounir Hima did not play) with Maliq Brown at center, Taylor and Starling helped on the glass with seven rebounds each.

(As an aside, Taylor’s play has been strong in the early season. He had 13 points and a pair of assists to go with his seven rebounds. He’s a solid option as a zone buster from the high-post, too.)

He might not be the panacea to Syracuse’s rebounding concerns, but if Benny Williams were to return for the Colgate game it would certainly be a good time to help his team rebound.

NCAA Basketball: Canisius at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

P.S. hope you out of New York State eligible betting folks weren’t afflicted with the bad beat.