Syracuse rallied for a 83-65 win over Division II Indiana (Pa.) University at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday evening. Here are some notes from the game:
- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim talked about playing man-to-man defense prior to the start of the season, and the Orange did exactly that on Tuesday night. It was the first time since the 2009-10 team that Boeheim strayed from his vaunted 2-3 zone. If you’ll remember, Syracuse lost an exhibition to LeMoyne with a roster that eventually climbed to the No. 1 ranking in the country.
- The 2015-16 Syracuse basketball team was able to reach the Final Four in part thanks to a suffocating full-court press. Once the Orange fell behind by 14, Boeheim ditched his man-to-man defense and put on the press, which allowed the Orange to rally. In particular, the small ball lineup of John Gillon, Tyus Battle, Andrew White, Tyler Lydon and Taurean Thompson was effective.
- Speaking of Battle, the prized recruit of the 2016 class hasn’t had as many headlines as he would’ve in years past, mostly because of the additions of fifth-year seniors Gillon and White to the backcourt. But Battle impressed in his Orange debut, leading the Orange with 16 points, and showing a deft touch from downtown.
- It will be interesting watching the battle for playing time at point guard develop during the season. Frank Howard drew the start, but Gillon played the better overall game. Boeheim was not pleased with Howard, as Howard turned the ball over three times while also displaying some defensive lapses. Meanwhile, Gillon directed the Orange offense beautifully, logging a team-high nine assists against just two turnovers.
- Paschal Chukwu has been worth the wait. The transfer center finished with a stat line of four points, two blocks, two steals and five rebounds (and three fouls). Some of his impact won’t make the stat sheet. For instance, during one sequence in the first half, Dante Lombardi drove in the lane and was met by Chukwu. Lombardi (smartly) pulled the ball out, sensing a block coming. Chukwu will undoubtedly sure up SU’s interior.
- Matt Moyer just doesn’t look ready to play at this level yet. It makes sense for him to redshirt, given the depth SU has at wing. White can slide over to the forward spot, and Lydon and Roberson will be playing big minutes this season. Any leftovers would go to Thompson, who finished second in rebounds with four.
- Syracuse is next in action next week on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. against crosstown rival Le Moyne.