On Friday night, Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim patrolled the sidelines of the court that bears his name. He wasn’t the only one involved in the game that could make that claim though.
Boeheim had to coach against his son, Jimmy, as the latter suited up for Cornell to open the college basketball season in Central New York.
It was a defensive affair in the Carrier Dome as Syracuse (1-0, 0-0) pulled away from Cornell (0-1, 0-0), to win 77-45.
This season features a lot of new faces for the Orange, but it took a familiar one to lead the way on Friday. Tyus Battle led ‘Cuse in scoring with 18 on the night. Grad transfer Geno Thorpe and freshman Oshae Brissett joined Battle as the double digit scorers.
Slow starts plagued Syracuse during the exhibition schedule and continued to be a trend against Cornell. The Orange trailed for the first five minutes of the game after Jimmy Boeheim scored five quick points for the Big Red. Frank Howard hit a floater with 15:13 remaining in the half to put Syracuse up. It would never trail in the game again.
Defense was the key for Syracuse in the first half. Cornell had a 14-minute and 12-second period where it only scored one basket. It picked up a few free throws in that span, but the Orange did not allow many good shots to be taken from the field.
The Orange led at halftime 33-22 with both teams struggling to shoot the ball. Syracuse hit 31 percent of its first half attempts, while Cornell finished only 21 percent of its looks.
Scoring picked up in the second half though, as Syracuse opened with an 18-4 run. That put the game out of reach from there, as the Orange never led by fewer than 21 the rest of the way.
Much like many of its preseason games, Syracuse looked like a different team after halftime. The Orange shot 51 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three-point range in the second period. Battle scored 10 points in just 10 minutes of play in the half.
Possibly the biggest bright spot for Syracuse was the play of Brissett and fellow freshman Bourama Sidibe. Brissett finished with a double-double while Sidibe stuffed the stats sheet with seven points, six rebounds, a pair of blocks and two steals.
Even in a win, there was a lot to be desired. ‘Cuse committed a ton of fouls in the game. It sent Cornell to the foul line for 26 free throws. Big Red only hit 15 of them, but against better teams, that could lose a game for Syracuse.
The Orange plays next against another in-state foe when it takes on Iona on November 14 in the Carrier Dome.