Sunday afternoon, Syracuse closed the non-conference portion of their campaign with an 80-67 victory over Texas Southern at the Carrier Dome. The Orange (10-3) used an 18-5 run late in the first half to grab a double-digit lead, which they never gave up against the Tigers (1-10).
The SU defense was simultaneously good and bad in the game. The good came when they forced TSU turnovers. Syracuse caused 15 miscues on the day, 14 of which were steals, and converted them into 18 points. The Orange finished at plus-13 in points off turnovers, matching the game’s margin.
The bad part of the SU defense was that the Tigers shot just under 51 percent from the field on the day, including 42.1 percent (8-of-19) on threes. Texas Southern came into the game shooting under 44 percent as a team on the season, including making 32.5 percent from long range.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead, but a three-pointer by Trevor Cooney and a short shot from DaJuan Coleman put Syracuse in front, 7-5, less than four minutes into the action. After a couple minutes of trading markers, the Orange got six straight points in under 80 seconds to take the lead.
Michael Gbinije opened the burst with a jumper, then Tyler Roberson added one of his own. Roberson then added a pair of free throws to make it three straight successful possessions. The foul shots gave SU a 17-11 lead coming out of the under-eight media time out.
Texas Southern was up to the task, though, erasing the margin by holding the Orange to two field goals in a stretch of over seven minutes. A pair of threes drew the Tigers even at 22 a side with under five minutes left in the half.
Syracuse struck back with another quick burst that lasted under 80 seconds, this time racking up an 8-0 run in that time. Roberson opened up the burst with a lay-up, then Cooney and Tyler Lydon each followed with a triple, the latter putting SU on top, 30-22, with just over three minutes left in the opening half.
The Orange outscored the Tigers over the rest of the half, 10-8, with Gbinije doing most the work, as he matched the TSU output in the span with a lay-up and back-to-back treys. Gbinije’s work powered Syracuse to a 40-30 halftime advantage.
SU effectively ended the game in the first couple minutes of the second half. Or, to be more specific, Malachi Richardson effectively ended the game in the first couple minutes of the second half. The freshman forward posted seven points in just over two minutes coming out of the intermission to give the Orange a 17-point lead.
Texas Southern would clip the Syracuse lead to 11 points on a pair of occasions, but after the latter, the Orange scored 20 of the game’s next 30 points to take their largest lead of the day at 77-56 with a little over four minutes left in the game. The Tigers responded with four straight successful possessions to slice eight points off that lead, but it was far too little, too late.
Seven of the eight Syracuse players who saw action scored in the game and each of them had at least a half dozen points, topped by Michael Gbinije’s 15. DaJuan Coleman notched a season high in scoring for the second straight outing, this time posting an efficient 14 points on 4-of-5 from the floor and 6-of-7 at the line, while coming up with four steals. Trevor Cooney also had 14 points, doing most of his damage on four three-pointers, and had three steals. Tyler Lydon scored 13 points while Malachi Richardson added ten.
Derrick Griffin led all players with 20 points and nine rebounds while hitting all nine of his field goals for Texas Southern. Jerron Martin added 18 points for the Tigers, connecting on a half dozen treys for all of his points. Malcolm Riley chipped in with 13 points.
The Orange will open ACC play on Wednesday when they travel to Pittsburgh for a matchup with their longtime rival. The Panthers (10-1) enter the game on a roll, having won six contests since a loss to then-#11 Purdue, 72-59.
Three Pitt players average double figures in scoring, led by Michael Young, who paces the squad with 17.4 points and 7.6 boards a night. Jamel Artis is close behind at 15.5 points per game and is hitting 43.3 percent from three. Collectively, the Panthers shoot a hair over 50 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from long range on the season.
It will be a late start at the Petersen Events Center, as tip-off is set for 9:00pm Eastern. The game will be televised by ESPN2 and be available online at espn3.com and through the WatchESPN app.
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