In matchup of Boeheims, Syracuse easily defeats Cornell

Boeheim coached against his son to open the 2017-18 season
Boeheim coached against his son to open the 2017-18 season

The first official Boeheim vs. Boeheim game went pretty much as expected, as Syracuse pounded Cornell in the second half to claim a 77-45 victory at the Carrier Dome in the season opener for both squads. Head coach Jim Boeheim saw his Orange use a 19-4 run to start the second half and end the comeback hopes of the Big Red, including his son, freshman forward Jimmy Boeheim.

SU played stifling defense for most of the night, allowing the guests to make only 25 percent of their field goal tries, including only 4-of-27 (14.8 percent) from three-point range. After struggling in the opening half, the Syracuse offense relied more on transition play in the second session and shot 51.4 percent after the break.

The Orange also exploited their physical advantages over their Ivy League foes. SU outrebounded Cornell 54-36, including 21 on the offensive glass, and piled up 36 points in the paint. The hosts also snared a dozen steals in the game.

Jimmy Boeheim had the better start of the family, drilling a three-pointer on the opening possession in front of the Syracuse bench, then adding another bucket for a 5-2 Cornell lead in the opening minutes. The Orange responded by not giving up a field goal for the next ten-plus minutes as they scored 14 of the game’s next 15 points.

The starting backcourt of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard was responsible for most of the damage in that span. Battle started things off with a pull-up jumper from above the free throw line, then Howard dropped in a floater to give SU their first lead of the night. Howard later banged home a three off the left wing and Battle would draw a foul on a three-point try of his own, making all three from the line. Freshman Marek Dolezaj added a tip-in on the next possession for a 16-6 Syracuse lead with nine minutes elapsed.

» Related: Schedule analysis and season prediction — 2017-18 Syracuse Basketball Preview

The Big Red stayed within arm’s length for the next six minutes, but the Orange hung a 9-2 run in under 90 seconds to get some extra breathing room just before halftime. Oshae Brissett started the streak with a three that rattled home, then three of his mates scored inside for the rest of the damage. Bourama Sidibe scored off a rebound, Geno Thorpe dropped in a reverse lay-up, and Dolezaj coaxed a drive through the rim to extend the Syracuse lead to 33-20 with just over a minute left in the opening half. Cornell used a pair of foul shots to draw within 11 at halftime.

SU dropped a crushing 19-4 run in under eight minutes to start the second half, blowing the game open. Battle did the lion’s share of the work in the stretch, scoring ten points in under six minutes. The sophomore guard swished a three from the left corner, then drained a spinning fadeaway just off the left block on the next trip. Battle then closed the span with a lefty lay-up in transition and another three, this one from the left wing, for a 52-26 Orange lead.

The lead remained between 20 and 28 points for nearly ten minutes until Syracuse closed the game with 13 of the night’s final 15 points. Thorpe had a pair of lay-ins around a Dolezaj three from the top of the key to start that finishing kick. The elder Boeheim then ushered in a lineup of walk-ons who were intent on getting in the scorebook.

Patrick Herlihy connected on a short turnaround to make it nine straight SU points. Following a Big Red basket, Braedon Bayer hit a jumper from just inside the arc and Shaun Belbey added a lay-up in the closing seconds for a 77-45 final.

Tyus Battle paced all scorers with 18 points while Geno Thorpe added a dozen points off the bench. Freshman Oshae Brissett had a double-double in his debut, tallying 11 points and ten rebounds. Frank Howard had nine points while Marek Dolezaj added eight in a reserve role. Matthew Moyer also grabbed ten rebounds for SU while Paschal Chukwu blocked three shots.

Matt Morgan, who led Cornell in scoring in each of the last two seasons, topped the Big Red with 14 points. Jimmy Boeheim was the only other Big Red player in double digits, scoring 11 points.

The Orange return to the Carrier Dome hardwood on Tuesday when they will take on Iona. The Gaels (0-1) came back from an 11-point halftime deficit, but could not hold on to a lead in the final five minutes, dropping their opener at Albany on Friday night, 69-67. T.K. Edogi led Iona with 17 points and nine rebounds off the bench while Deyshonee Much added 15 points.

Tip-off for Tuesday night’s game is at 7:00pm Eastern and the game will be available online at

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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 He currently resides in Syracuse.