Syracuse displayed its new look offense in a 97-58 win over Le Moyne in its exhibition opener.
SU shot 12 for 32 from beyond the arc, with five different players connecting on 3-pointers. Michael Gbinije led the way with 21 points on 5-for-10 shooting from distance.
“Tonight was fun. It felt good and I felt comfortable” Gbinije said. “Every game is different and today was a lot of 3-pointers. If you’re open I feel like you should shoot it so we will see if this continues.”
Last season, Syracuse ran its offense from the inside out, featuring Rakeem Christmas in the post. With Christmas now playing for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, the Orange has adjusted by becoming a more perimeter oriented team.
Sharpshooting freshman Malachi Richardson started for the Orange and went 3 for 8 from downtown, finishing with 13 points.
The player he replaced in the lineup, Kaleb Joseph (11 points), came off the bench and hit 2 of his 5 shots from deep. Frank Howard and walk-on Adrian Autry each chipped in a 3.
Surprisingly, SU’s best perimeter shooter from last season, Trevor Cooney, missed all three of his attempts.
Cooney, now a fifth-year senior, figures to benefit the most from Syracuse’s new attack. In the last two years, Cooney has been SU’s only dependable outside shooter, and would often draw multiple defenders when he attempted to look for his shot.
But with better shooters on the team, Cooney will likely have more open looks.
“We,” Gbinije said, “are a much deeper team this year.”
The 12 makes from downtown were more than any game Syracuse had last season, when Syracuse shot just 30.1 percent from downtown.
Still, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim cautioned his team from relying too much on the deep shot. The Orange took 21 3s in the first half, 11 more than Le Moyne.
“We don’t want to take 21 in a half,” Boeheim said. “We want to take 12 to 15.”