A quick take on Syracuse’s 82-60 win over Cornell on Friday evening to open the season:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Jerami Grant on the bench in (very fly) street clothes, the Orange spent the first half determinedly failing to look the part of a top-10 team while Cornell obligingly drained open and not-so-open 3s. Cornell led by as much as 14 before Trevor Cooney sparked a 10-2 run to close the gap to 6 at halftime. Another 10-2 run out of the gate in the 2nd half put the Orange ahead, a lead that quickly ballooned as SU’s talent and athleticism took over.
ANALYSIS: Cornell made things interesting early, using good ball movement to generate open 3s. The Orange looked out-of-sync at both ends with Cooney and CJ Fair keeping Syracuse in it. The Orange’s frontcourt returners were practically invisible for most of the first half.
Then Rakeem Christmas drank some coffee at halftime, Cooney went nova, and a close game became a blowout very, very quickly.
HERO: That’s who Orange fans expected to see last year. With his team down double digits, Trevor Cooney calmly went about murdering any hope Cornell had of an upset. The redshirt sophomore went 7-8 from long range, scoring a career-high 27 in the process. Most impressive about his performance was the way his 3s came: not only on spot-ups, but curling off screens and off the dribble, too. On the other end, he played disruptive D at the top of the zone, picking up 4 steals. Cornell’s Nolan Cressler was unconscious in the first half to the tune of 20 points on 7-11 shooting, but the Orange locked him down in the second.
ZERO: The NCAA. Grant reportedly was stuck on the bench for a violation of the NCAA’s policy regarding summer league play, which is a real policy the NCAA has, apparently.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play Fordham on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN3.