Outside shooting sparks Syracuse past Colgate

Syracuse shot uncharacteristically well from downtown
Syracuse shot uncharacteristically well from downtown

Monday night at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse played like an angry team, dropping three double-digit bursts en route to a 78-43 thrashing of Colgate. The Orange (7-4) hung runs of 16 and 12 consecutive points in the first half, then added a 10-0 burst early in the second half to finish off the Raiders (3-9).

Perhaps more of note was that SU drained ten three-pointers in the game, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. Four different players buried triples as the Orange enjoyed what was far and away their best perimeter shooting game of the season.

Though they came into the game averaging 14.2 turnovers in the game, Syracuse did not give the ball away until almost 24 minutes of the game were elapsed and ended the night with half a dozen miscues.

The Orange defense, however, forced 18 turnovers and harassed Colgate into a 34.5 percent shooting night, including a mere 3-of-23 effort from downtown. Those numbers are actually inflated by the Raiders making 7-of-8 shots in a span of less than five minutes in the second half once they fell behind by 41 points. Outside of that time frame, the visitors made 12-of-47 (25.5 percent) tries from the floor.

Holding a 6-5 lead less than four minutes into the game, SU made their first big run of the night. The Orange scored on seven of their next nine possessions as five different players got in on the action. Rakeem Christmas started the run with a pair of free throws and later scored on a lay-in, then set up Tyler Roberson for a dunk on the next possession. Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney closed the run by each drilling a three-pointer, setting a tone for the game by pushing the lead to 22-5.

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After a pair of Colgate free throws, Gbinije made a jump shot, then followed a Colgate basket with another three-pointer and set up Cooney for his second trey. In just over three-and-a-half minutes of play, the Orange, who came into the game averaging 3.6 triples per game, had four bombs from long range. Cooney’s second three put Syracuse in front, 30-9, less than 11 minutes into the action.

The two triples also started a 12-0 stretch in favor of the Orange. When B.J. Johnson dropped in a lay-up to end the span, Syracuse held a 36-9 lead with over five minutes left in the first half. The two teams each tallied a pair of buckets, then Johnson canned a three to push the lead to 43-13 at halftime.

Colgate started the second half by scoring on their first possession, then they went scoreless for over five minutes. Meanwhile, the Orange rang up ten points. Cooney drilled a three, then Christmas had a three-point-play. Christmas added a stickback on the next SU possession, then Gbinije added a pair of free throws. The Syracuse lead stood at 53-15.

From there, the most suspense in the Dome came from two things and the first was potentially ruinous for the Orange. With just over eight minutes off the clock and Syracuse holding a 36-point lead, Christmas was fouled going for a dunk and landed hard on his back. The stoppage of play led to the under-12 media timeout in the half and Christmas returned to the floor, making one foul shot, then continuing to play.

Cooney buried his fourth three-pointer shortly after to push the margin to 40 points less than nine minutes into the half. Just past the midpoint of the half, with the Orange holding a 62-23 lead, Jim Boeheim went to his bench and removed Christmas and Cooney for the night.

Ron Patterson made the Carrier Dome floor his personal playground for a couple minutes, driving for a basket, then hitting a three. After adding on a turnover and a missed shot to his stat line, Patterson buried another trey, pushing the SU lead to 70-27, the largest gap of the night.

The Raiders responded with the game’s next seven points and an 11-1 run overall. The burst trimmed the lead to 33 points with under five minutes to go. Neither team managed much offense the rest of the way.

The second suspenseful occasion finally passed for the Carrier Dome faithful late in the game when Patterson stuck his third three of the game, pushing the home team total past 75 points and sending everyone home with a coupon for a free taco.

Trevor Cooney led all scorers with 20 points, doing most of his damage from deep as he hit four three-point shots. Rakeem Christmas logged a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Ron Patterson had a career-high 13 points off the bench and Michael Gbinije chipped in with 11 points.

Dam Sherman-Newsome paced Colgate with 13 points while Austin Tillotson joined him in double figures with 11.

The Orange will get back at it on Sunday when Long Beach State visits the Dome for a matinee. The 49ers (5-8) have lost all seven of their true road games to this point of the year, including their last four games.

Long Beach State has also played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, having faced BYU, Kansas State, then-#18 San Diego State, then-#17 St. John’s, then-#9 Texas, UCLA, Washington, and Xavier (twice). Long Beach State earned wins at home against Kansas State and in a neutral-court matchup with Xavier.

Mike Caffey is the top player for the Beach, averaging 17.8 points per game while shooting just under 50 percent from the floor and 50 percent on the nose from three-point range on the season.

The action starts at 2:00pm Eastern and ESPNU will televise the game, which can also be seen online at ESPN3.com.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.