Syracuse opened the 2016-2017 campaign with 20 very strong minutes wrapped in 20 mediocre minutes, but the good stretch was more than enough to get the Orange an 83-55 win over Colgate at the Carrier Dome. SU (1-0) took a few minutes to get going, but got a run of a dozen straight points to grab a stranglehold on the game in the first half, then used a 17-0 stretch that lasted just over three minutes and bridged halftime to all but end the contest.
Syracuse relied on their superior size and athleticism to defeat the Raiders and the stat sheet reflected that physical dominance. The Orange shot just under 55 percent from the field while holding their guests to just over 28 percent from the floor, including a 6-of-37 (16.2 percent) mark from behind the three-point line. Colgate actually grabbed more offensive rebounds than the Orange, but more than half of them came from chasing long caroms from their own errant threes.
For the first five minutes and change, the two squads alternated scores. Colgate enjoyed early success from behind the arc, hitting three triples en route to an 11-9 lead. DaJuan Coleman responded for SU by hitting a pair of baskets, including a right elbow jumper, to put the home team in front. Frank Howard added a three-pointer to make it seven straight Syracuse points for a 16-11 lead.
A couple minutes later, the Orange ran off 12 straight points to take command. Inside play propelled the burst, as Tyler Lydon got a lay-up to start the streak and Tyler Roberson finished the run with a pair of dunks and a lay-up of his own. Roberson’s last score gave him 14 points, which was nearly more than Colgate had as a team at that point, as SU held a 30-15 lead with 6:38 left in the opening half.
The lead ranged between ten and 15 points over the next several minutes, then Syracuse closed the half with a dozen unanswered points. John Gillon was the driving force, setting up a Howard three-pointer to start the run, then making a three off a Howard assist. After Roberson scored once more, Gillon added a pair of baskets in the final 35 seconds of the half to send the game to intermission with the Orange holding a 49-25 lead.
Andrew White III and Frank Howard each scored in the opening minute of the second half to quickly balloon the SU lead to 29 points. The Raiders got a trey to snap that streak, but the Orange quickly responded with seven more points for a 61-28 lead just over three minutes into the second half.
Syracuse would eventually stretch the lead to at 35 points four minutes later and Colgate would never get within 25 points the rest of the way.
Tyler Roberson was remarkably efficient, shooting 9-of-13 from the field for his game-high 18 points. In their first game for the Orange, both fifth-year transfer players paid immediate dividends, as Andrew White III had 17 points while John Gillon added 13 points of his own. Frank Howard did a little of everything all over the stat sheet, finishing with 11 points, nine assists, and four steals. Howard, who made only two triples last season, made all three of his three-point shots in the game. Despite suffering from on off night on the offensive end, Tyler Lydon blocked three shots.
Syracuse will return to action on Tuesday for their first game in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational when they welcome Holy Cross to the Dome. The Crusaders, who finished 15-20 last season, but won the Patriot League Tournament and their subsequent NCAA Tournament First Four game, open their season on Sunday when they face South Carolina on the road. SU and Holy Cross will tip off at 7:00pm Tuesday night and the game will be available online at ESPN3.com.