Syracuse interim head coach Mike Hopkins earned the first win of his career on Tuesday night, as the Orange handily defeated Colgate 78-51 to snap a two-game losing streak.
Despite the milestone, Hopkins was quick to deflection attention.
“It has never been about me. I’m happy for the guys that we won after losing two in a row,” Hopkins said. “As a teacher, educator, coach, all we’re trying to do is get them better.”
That’s exactly what Syracuse was on Tuesday.
After a dreadful 7-for-24 performance from 3 against Georgetown in a 79-72 loss on Saturday – Hopkins first game as a fill-in head coach – Syracuse rediscovered its shooting touch against the Raiders, finishing 14 for 30 from downtown.
The Orange received four 3-pointers each from three different players, including Michael Gbinije, who finished with 17 points on 4-7 shooting from 3, six assists and four rebounds.
“[Hopkins] has done a lot for me on and off the court,” Gbinije said. “He has been really patient with us and it’s nice to see him get a W.”
It was a rebound night for freshman Malachi Richardson, who had come into the game 1 for his last 12 from downtown. He scored a career-high 17 points on 4-for-10 shooting from 3.
“We know he wanted to get the Georgetown win for coach Boeheim but we came up a little short,” Richardson said. “We knew tonight we wanted to come out and play.”
Trevor Cooney (4-9) and Tyler Lydon (2-3) also contributed to SU’s torrid shooting from distance.
Hopkins will be the head coach for another seven games while head coach Jim Boeheim serves a nine-game suspension for various NCAA infractions. That means that Hopkins will be the head coach until Jan. 9.
The goal, until then, is simple.
“It’s our job,” Hopkins said, “to give Coach Boeheim back a better team than when he gave it.”
Eventually, Syracuse will be exclusively Hopkins’ program to run. But that day isn’t here – yet.
“I’m trying to hold the fort down for one of the greatest coaches of all time. I’ll have my day one day,” said Hopkins. “Getting a win for these guys and some offensive and defensive confidence is what’s important.”