On Saturday afternoon, it was better late than never for Syracuse, as their offense often sputtered, even trailing Cornell in the opening minute of the second half, but roared back for a 67-46 win at the Carrier Dome. The Orange (8-3) employed a pair of 11-0 runs as they transformed a two-point deficit into a 19-point lead in the span of a dozen minutes.
SU exploited their advantages in height and athleticism, beating the Big Red (5-5) on the glass to the tune of 48-27, including hauling in 17 offensive rebounds. Syracuse converted those extra opportunities into 17 second chance points. The Orange also hammered away inside, scoring 34 points in the paint.
The Big Red were held at bay for most of the day on offense. SU held them to under 26 percent from the field in the second half and 31.5 percent from the floor in all.
The Orange opened up the game pounding the ball inside, scoring the first four points of the day on a wide-open two-handed dunk from DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson cleaning up a miss. The lead was short-lived, as Cornell came back, eventually taking a 10-7 lead just over five minutes into the action via a pair of three-pointers.
SU retaliated by scoring 11 of the game’s next 13 points. Michael Gbinije scored on a lay-up, then Roberson connected on another stick back to put Syracuse on top. Following a Big Red basket, Tyler Lydon dunked on an offensive rebound and hit a jumper. Malachi Richardson splashed a three to cap the Orange run with the hosts in front, 18-12.
Gbinije hit a three-pointer to nudge the lead out to eight points minutes later, but Cornell would push back, eventually shaving the SU lead to 25-22 on a pair of triples with just over three minutes left in the half. Another Gbinije trey made it a six-point game late in the half, but a Big Red score sent the two teams to their respective locker rooms with Syracuse in front, 30-26.
Cornell quickly jumped on top in the first minute of the second half thanks to a quick three-ball and a steal that turned into a fast break lay-up and foul. The free throw made it six quick points and a 32-30 Big Red advantage.
The Orange responded with their first 11-0 run of the half. Trevor Cooney opened the burst with a triple to put SU back on top, then Richardson slashed to the hole for two more points. A Roberson foul shot made it six straight points, then Gbinije scooped up a loose ball and turned it into a transition slam. Lydon buried a triple from left corner to force a Cornell time out and end the run with SU on top, 41-32, with just over four minutes off the clock.
The Big Red got a pair of lay-ups, but Cooney offset each one with a three-pointer to extend the lead to 11 points, the latter starting the second 11-0 run for the Orange. Roberson dunked twice in under 20 seconds, the first a putback and the second punctuating a fast break. Richardson stuck a jumper, then dropped in a lay-up 90 seconds later to finish the streak with Syracuse up, 55-36, with just over seven minutes on the clock.
Following a Cornell free throw, Roberson again converted off an offensive rebound and the Orange lead reached 20 points. The next three minutes saw a change of fortune, though, as the Big Red scored the game’s next eight points to draw within 57-45 with over three-and-a-half minutes still on the clock.
SU went for the finish, scoring six straight points to effectively end the game. Both teams ended the game with deep bench substitutions and Adrian Autry, Jr. logged the first points of his Syracuse career on a pair of free throws that closed the scoring.
Tyler Roberson and Malachi Richardson led a balanced Orange attack with 15 points apiece. Roberson registered his second double-double of the season by grabbing a dozen rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Michael Gbinije tied a personal best with eight assists to go along with his dozen points. Trevor Cooney had ten points and Tyler Lydon added nine to go with his four blocked shots.
Cornell’s leading scorer, Robert Hatter, led the way for the guests, finishing with 14 points. Matt Morgan dropped in nine points while Darryl Smith chipped in with seven.
Tuesday night, SU will host Montana State in their final game before Christmas. The Bobcats (5-6) have dropped their last two games, including an 80-73 decision at Buffalo on Saturday. Marcus Colbert and Tyler Hall form an effective one-two punch for Montana State, as they average 17.7 and 16.7 points per game, respectively. Both players have made at least 20 triples on the season and they shoot a collective 41 percent from three-point land.
ESPN3 will televise the game online starting at 7:00pm Eastern.