Syracuse struggles with shooting, still defeats Colgate

Saturday evening, #9 Syracuse did something they had done many times before against Colgate. When struggling with their marksmanship in almost all facets, the Orange (3-0) relied on their superior athleticism to ease by the Raiders (0-2), 69-50, to claim their 48th consecutive win the series between the two schools.

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Syracuse struggled shooting from the line

SU had a simply lousy night shooting the ball, posting a 36.8 percent shooting mark from the floor and a 29.2 percent mark from three-point range. Even worse, though, was their 42.9 percent performance (12-of-28) from the free throw line, a stat buoyed by Trevor Cooney making 5-of-6 at the stripe.

The Orange, however, smoked Colgate on the glass, outrebounding them by a 52-34 margin, including grabbing 26 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 19 points. Syracuse also forced 21 turnovers in the game, collecting them both with their halfcourt defense and their full court pressure, and drew 20 fouls while only committing ten.

» Related: Early games show Syracuse has the potential to make another deep NCAA run

C.J. Fair opened up the game with shots on the first three Orange possessions and made a pair, including a triple, to stake SU to a quick 5-0 lead. Colgate responded as Syracuse went into a scoring drought, hanging up the next nine points of the game to take an early 9-5 advantage. Shortly after, a Raider three stretched their lead to what would be its greatest point at 12-7.

Fair scored the next six points for Syracuse, sparking the Orange offense. SU would outscore Colgate over a span of 7:36 by a 23-6 margin, closing the burst with 15 straight points in under three minutes. Trevor Cooney played a significant part in the span, splashing a pair of free throws and a three-pointer in a ten-second span to give the Carrier Dome crowd a jolt.

Five quick points drew the Raiders to within 30-23 with under five minutes left in the half, drawing a time out from Jim Boeheim. Tyler Ennis stopped the Colgate momentum, splashing a pair of threes to stretch the SU lead to 13, but a buzzer-beating 28-foot trey drew the Raiders within 36-26 at halftime.

Fair continued his strong offensive play in the opening 90 seconds of the second half, knocking down a pair of short jumpers to stretch the SU lead to 14 points. After Colgate got a triple, the Orange went on a 9-2 burst, courtesy of their starting backcourt. Ennis knocked down another pair of three-pointers and Cooney tacked on a steal that he turned into a dunk and a free throw to make it a 49-31 game in favor of Syracuse.

Colgate turned to the long ball to try to climb back into the game, hitting three shots from behind the arc to supply all the points in a 9-2 run to trim the margin to 51-40 by the under-12 time out. The Orange responded with a 10-1 burst, capped by eight straight points, but take their largest lead of the night at 61-41 with under seven minutes on the clock. SU cruised home from there, never allowing the margin to get closer than 15 points.

» Related: Rapid Reaction to Syracuse’s win

As he had done in the last SU game, C.J. Fair topped the Orange offense with 20 points, writing 18 of them in the scorebook before two minutes had elapsed in the second half. Tyler Ennis had a dozen points on four three-pointers while Michel Gbinije came off the bench to kick in 11 points. Trevor Cooney added ten points and picked up three steals in the game.

Ethan Jacobs was the lone Colgate player in double figures, scoring 13 points. Austin Tillotson had nine points and Murphy Burnatowski chipped in seven.

The Orange have little rest time, as they will take on St. Francis (NY) on Monday at the Carrier Dome. The Terriers (2-1) opened their season with a pair of victories, including an overtime win over Miami (FL), but were blown out late by Dayton on Saturday, 78-58. Jalen Cannon leads St. Francis at 14.3 points per game and Wayne Martin 12.7. The game will start at 7:30pm Eastern and will be available online at ESPN3.com.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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