The Syracuse Orange closed out exhibition play with a convincing win against the Le Moyne College Dolphins with a 97-64 win. The Orange led early and often but the Dolphins ended the first half hot, cutting the lead to nine. That momentum ended fast, as Andrew White III’s game-high 24 points jumpstarted the Orange’s dominant second half, welcoming SU to the regular season.
White’s performance last night is the talk of the campus this morning. Inside the Carrier Dome, White was as cool, calm, and collected as ever. He hit six of his 10 attempted threes, while finishing the game shooting 75 percent from the field. This is the real Andrew White III, as last week’s performance against Indiana University (PA.) showcased a player without much rhythm.
“It was just stepping up into each shot and having confidence,” the 6’7” forward said in regards to his stellar performance. “[The coaches] put a lot of emphasis on me scoring so I just try to deliver for my coaches and my teammates.”
White didn’t do it all alone, as SU’s point guard play was incredible to say the least. Led by Frank Howard and John Gillon, the Syracuse offense orchestrated open threes and easy buckets for their big men. Howard and Gillon combined for 25 points and 9 assists, as the Orange nearly reached 100 points.
Gillon, along with Tyus Battle, led the way off the bench to keep things flowing for the Orange. “I was just doing what the defense gave me. They didn’t have any shot blockers in the middle of the paint, so I knew I could get by the first man and get an easy basket,” Gillon said in regards to his scoring performance.
Syracuse put on an offensive clinic, dominating inside the arc and beyond it, but what makes this game even more inspiring is the lack of involvement from Tyler Lydon. Lydon is the star of this team even with White’s scoring ability. Without Lydon performing, this team won’t reach its aspirations, so seeing a performance like Tuesday’s should prove to America how deep SU really is.
“I just didn’t make shots,” the forward said on his poor performance. “I was wide open I felt like, on all of my threes, there were probably one or two that were maybe contested a little bit, they just weren’t falling tonight.”
The Orange need Lydon to fully reach the excellence they expect, but coach Jim Boeheim doesn’t seem worried. “Tyler Lydon hasn’t, but he will,” the coach said in regards to the teams shooting.
The offense was there from tip to buzzer, but for the Orange to reach their ceiling, their defense needs to be elite. Le Moyne torched the Orange from beyond the arc, but the zone looked active early, while the press still looked inconsistent.
The real show starts Friday night, and the Orange gained plenty of information from these two exhibition games. Information that will only make things easier for Boeheim come the heat of regular-season battle.