Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse got back on track mostly by getting their perimeter shooting going again. The Orange hit eight threes in the opening half and 14 overall as they easily handled Colgate for their 50th straight win in the series between the two schools, 78-51.
SU (7-2) broke a two-game slide with a balanced and proficient attack as five players scored in double digits and the team shot 49.0 percent from the floor for the game, including 60.9 percent in the second half. The Syracuse defense also played well, holding the Red Raiders (2-6) to making only one-third of their field goals and forcing 19 turnovers in the contest, which the Orange turned into 22 points.
Consecutive Colgate scores had the guests up four points early, but SU would respond shortly after. Trailing by a bucket less than four minutes into the game, Syracuse scored 21 of the game’s next 24 points to blow the contest open early.
Tyler Lydon started the run by powering through a foul to score, then tacked on the free throw to put the Orange in front. Trevor Cooney hit a three from the left wing, then Lydon added one of his own from straightaway to put SU in front by seven. After DaJuan Coleman added a pair of foul shots, Colgate got a three to get back in the scoring column and shave the Syracuse lead to 17-11.
Michael Gbinije struck from well beyond the three point line to get the Orange offense going again. Franklin Howard played the passing lane for a steal and dunked for two more. Lydon used a shot fake to create some space for another three, then set up Tyler Roberson for a lay-in that gave SU a 27-11 lead with 7:15 left in the opening half.
After more than seven minutes without connecting on a field goal, the Red Raiders finally broke through, getting a deuce and a trey on consecutive possessions to slice the margin to 11 points. The two squads would play evenly to the half from there with Syracuse holding a 33-22 advantage at the intermission.
The Orange quickly put any Colgate comeback hopes to bed in the second half. Gbinije knocked down a triple on the first possession, then finished a give-and-go with Roberson for five points in the first 41 seconds of the second session. Shortly after, Cooney would hit a three from the left wing. Roberson cleaned up a Gbinije miss, then turned a pick-and-roll into a three-point-play to cap a 13-5 start to the half and make it a 19-point SU lead.
A pair of Red Raider scores suggested some fire remained in the visitors, but it was quickly extinguished. First, Cooney connected on a triple off a screen, then Gbinije drilled one of his own from well beyond the arc. Malachi Richardson slashed across the lane for a score, ending an 8-0 run that took less than 90 seconds off the clock. The explosion gave Syracuse a 54-31 lead just over seven minutes out of the break.
The gap between the two teams would hover around the 20-point mark until Coleman asserted himself on the offensive end in the game’s waning minutes. In the final five-and-a-half minutes, the center bulled his way to eight points, bulging the Orange lead to as many as 29 points in the game’s final minute.
Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson tied for game-high scoring honors with 17 points apiece for the Orange. Trevor Cooney added 14 points. All three players hit four threes in the game and Cooney and Gbinije each had three steals. Tyler Lydon had 11 points off the bench and DaJuan Coleman’s late scoring push gave him ten points on the night.
Only two Colgate players reached double figures. Sean O’Brien topped the visitors with 16 points and Jordan Swopshire chipped in with ten.
Sunday afternoon, Syracuse will take a trip to their familiar stomping grounds of Madison Square Garden in New York City to face former Big East rival St. John’s. The Red Storm (5-3), who are now coached by legendary alumnus Chris Mullin, host Niagara on Wednesday prior to SU’s visit. Freshman guard Federico Mussini tops three double-digit scorers for St. John’s by averaging 14.4 points per game.
As is fitting these two old rivals, tip-off will be at high noon with Fox Sports 1 handling the television duties. The game will also be available online through Fox Sports Go, which is at http://www.foxsports.com/foxsportsgo.