A quick take on Syracuse’s 79-66 win over St. Bonaventure on Tuesday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: A torrid start by Bonnies had the upset-minded underdogs up by double-digits in the first half, and up 40-32 with 18:04 left in the second half. But an 11-4 run capped by a Michael Gbinije layup pulled the Orange within 52-51 with 10:48 left. SU took its first lead since 5-3 early in the first half after Trevor Cooney hit a layup plus a foul a little more than two minutes later, and Syracuse never trailed again from that point on.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s flaws were on display in just its second game of the season, with the Orange getting badly outrebounded by a significantly smaller St. Bonaventure team 43-32. To be fair, part of that was due to Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim being forced to play a smaller lineup with Tyler Lydon at center because of a mostly ineffective Dajuan Coleman and Chinonso Obokoh. SU also looked lost on defense in the first half, allowing the Bonnies to hit six 3-pointers before St. Bonaventure finally cooled off in the second half. But Syracuse made its adjustments in the second half, making a concerted effort to pound the ball inside, which ultimately opened up better looks from downtown. That allowed Syracuse to finish 9-24 from downtown, and shoot 45 percent from the field.
HERO: Michael Gbinije led the Orange for the second straight game, with 23 points, five assists and four steals. But it was Lydon who provided the impetus for the rally, hitting a key pair of 3-pointers off the bench to finish with 13 points and six rebounds. Jaylen Adams led the Bonnies with 16 points and seven assists before fouling out.
ZERO: As alluded to earlier, the Orange hasn’t gotten much from its veteran centers Obokoh and Coleman through two games. Syracuse got an early basket from Coleman to start the second half, a dunk to close the game, and aside from three rebounds, he quiet the rest of the game. SU will suffer against bigger teams later in the season if it is forced to play Lydon at center for extended stretches like he was tonight.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts Elon on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.