Tuesday night, Syracuse rallied from multiple double-digit deficits, outscoring St. Bonaventure by a 44-21 margin in the game’s final 15:15 to pull out a 79-66 win. The Orange (2-0) never scored more than six consecutive points in that closing span, but their defense was stifling, holding the Bonnies to a 7-of-27 shooting mark (25.9 percent) during that time. SU connected on 56 percent of their field goals after the break, bouncing back from shooting 37 percent in the opening half.
While they did pull out the victory, the stat sheet shows a couple red flags for Syracuse. Not only were they outrebounded, 43-33, but the Orange gave up 24 offensive rebounds to St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies converted those extra opportunities into 29 second chance points.
SU held a 5-3 lead less than three minutes into the game, but St. Bonaventure posted two 8-0 runs split up by a Michael Gbinije three-pointer. The second run gave the Bonnies a 19-8 lead and forced the Orange to call time out just over eight minutes into the game.
The visitors would hold that 11-point lead on four separate occasions, the last coming after getting an offensive rebound and basket coming out of the under-four media timeout of the first half. During that entire stretch, the closest Syracuse ever whittled the margin down to was five points.
With the Orange down 32-21, they scored six straight points, capped by Malachi Richardson getting an open right baseline for a dunk in transition and Gbinije sticking a three off a screen. The Bonnies got a three-point play, but Trevor Cooney got a lay-up in the final seconds of the first half to send the game to the break with the visitors up, 35-29.
SU got the opening basket of the second half, but the Bonnies retaliated with a 10-4 run to grab a 45-35 lead just over four minutes out of the break. In just over two minutes, the Orange erased most of that gap.
Cooney started a 10-3 run with a triple, then Richardson drove the left baseline for an easy score. Following a Bonnie three, Gbinije dropped in a long trey, then snared Richardson’s airballed transition three attempt and stuffed it with two hands, pulling Syracuse to within 48-45.
St. Bonaventure held off the Orange comeback for a couple more minutes, but just after the midpoint of the half, Syracuse went on a 10-2 run to take the lead for good. Tyler Lydon started the streak with a three from the top of the key, then Cooney made a lefty lay-up to trigger a three-point play that put SU in front. After the Bonnies got a pair at the line, Lydon responded with four in a row at the stripe to give Syracuse a 61-56 lead with 6:45 on the clock.
After a bucket clipped the lead to three points, Richardson hit a triple off a Gbinije drive-and-kick. Following a foul shot from the visitors, Gbinije banked in a floater in the lane, then Cooney made a steal that eventually turned into another Lydon triple and a ten-point Orange lead with under four minutes left.
St. Bonaventure scrapped back within eight, but Cooney took over from the stripe, making six-of-eight at the line while the Bonnies could not muster a point, giving Syracuse a 76-62 lead with just over a minute to play.
Michael Gbinije led the Orange in scoring again, pacing the squad in points with 23 and assists with six while also grabbing four steals. Trevor Cooney’s late rush at the foul line pushed him to 18 points to go with six steals, tying a personal record. Freshmen Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon also cracked double digits, as Richardson had 15 points and Lydon chipped in with 13. Tyler Roberson snagged a game-high 12 rebounds before fouling out.
Jaylen Adams led the Bonnies with 16 points and a game-high seven assists. Dion Wright had 13 points and Syracuse native Denzel Gregg scored 11. Marcus Posley chipped in with nine points.
Saturday night, Elon comes to the Carrier Dome for the opener of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. The Phoenix stand 1-1 on the season, having beaten future SU foe Charlotte in their opener, 85-74, and falling to #24 Michigan, 88-68. Guard Dmitri Thompson leads three Elon players who average double figures in scoring with 16.5 points per game.
The game is set for a 7:00pm start and can be watched online at ESPN3.com.