A quick take on Syracuse’s 89-42 win over Kennesaw State on Friday night for its first win of the season:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse used a 16-0 first-half run to turn a narrow 15-9 contest into a 31-9 blowout. During that run, SU held Kennesaw State scoreless from the 8:56 mark to the 2:30 in the first half while forcing eight turnovers. It was more of the same in the second half as the Orange outscored the Owls 53-26 despite shooting just 4-15 from beyond the arc.
ANALYSIS: With Michael Gbinije out because of an undisclosed reason, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim got to see more of his younger players in action. The biggest beneficiary was BJ Johnson, who scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench. Boeheim typically goes with a seven or eight man rotation as the season progresses, with Gbinije and Chinonso Obokoh likely to fill two of those spots. The third is up for debate, and Johnson distinguished himself tonight. Still, the major takeaway from tonight will be Gbinije, who was in street clothes. The good news is that Boeheim said in postgame that Gbinije will be back in the lineup on Sunday.
HERO: Rakeem Christmas started slow, but dominated the interior in the second half, finishing with a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds. SU’s defense held the Owls to 32 percent shooting from the field and 5-21 from downtown, and also forced 25 turnovers.
ZERO: Boeheim has mentioned that there are two days out of the week where Ron Patterson hits everything, and five days where he won’t hit a single shot. Tonight was one of those five nights, as Patterson shot 2-9 from the field. Tyler Roberson finished with 10 points, but was 5-14 from the field, and often looked lost on offense.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts Hampton on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.