Syracuse 82, Cornell 60 — What we learned

Syracuse has won 34 straight against Cornell

Syracuse came from 14 points down in the first half to defeat Cornell 82-60 in their season opener. Here are a few thoughts from the game:


Gbinije played well in his backup point guard role

The story of the game was obviously Trevor Cooney, who buried seven 3-pointers en route to a career-high 27 points. He did it on a dazzling display of 3s off the dribble, off screens and in transition. It was a sweet opener for Cooney, who shot just 27 percent from downtown in his freshman season. “I got the first couple to go in and the game kind of flowed from there,” Cooney said. “My teammates found me in great spots and I was able to get my feet set and I was able to knock down some shots.” Cooney also played solid defense, collecting four steals, one of which led to a breakaway dunk. But the lingering question of the night was whether Cooney enjoyed throwing one down, or stringing a couple 3s in a row. His answer? “Hitting three or four in a row. That’s when you know the game is coming to you.”

» Related: Syracuse opens 2013-14 season with a win


Syracuse took control in the second half with a 10-2 run, most of which came with backup point guard Michael Gbinije playing point guard. Gbinije looked significantly more comfortable than he did in the preseason in that role, finishing with six points and five assists, while not turning the ball over. “I was really happy with what he did,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “It is going to take him a while—he didn’t play as a freshman and didn’t play last year.” It made up for a shaky college debut for Tyler Ennis. The freshman starter finished with just one point, although he did chip in seven points and eight rebounds.

» Related: Going in-depth into SU’s schedule


You always get your price of admission for a Jim Boeheim press conference. Boeheim, who was in the middle of describing Trevor Cooney’s defensive performance, suddenly veered off course into a diatribe about this year’s team being an improvement over last year’s Final Four squad. “We lost probably the best defensive guard we’ve ever had here from last year’s team (Michael Carter-Williams) and a guy that’s averaging 20 points in the NBA. And we’ve got another guard who started four years and was a great player (Brandon Triche),” Boeheim said. “And James Southerland, who’s on an NBA roster? And we’re going to be better? What do you guys watch? I would like to have people be realistic. I think I like that better.” And for those of you who do not fall into the ‘realistic’ category, Boeheim has something he’d like to sell you. “It’s like people that buy the lottery tickets. They buy the lottery tickets and think they’re going to win. I mean, c’mon. How can you lose those players and think you’re going to be better? That’s just unbelievable. That’s absurd.” This is all to say that the Boeheim press conference never disappoints.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]