Syracuse dominates inside to thwart Colgate upset attempt

Syracuse held off a late Colgate rally to move to 8-1
Syracuse held off a late Colgate rally to move to 8-1

Syracuse got a pair of big first half runs, enabling them to withstand 14 three-pointers by Colgate and hold on for a 72-58 win at the Carrier Dome. The victory nudges the Orange to an 8-1 record on the season and kept their home record perfect (7-0) while the Red Raiders fell to 3-6 overall. The victory also tied the NCAA record for most consecutive wins by one team over an opponent, as SU logged their 52nd consecutive victory in the series between the two schools.

Colgate opted for the long ball as their method of offense, as 35 of their 51 field goal attempts were from beyond the arc. Syracuse, in contrast, used their height and athleticism advantage to pound the Red Raiders from inside the arc. The Orange, who shot a hair over 52 percent overall, made 18-of-29 (62.1 percent) two-point field goal tries and held a 28-10 advantage in points in the paint.

SU also kept Colgate off the free throw line, committing only four fouls, and also turned the ball over only seven times, including just once after halftime. The Orange also finished with a 35-25 rebounding edge in the game.

The Red Raiders grabbed their only lead of the game at 5-3 with just under three minutes elapsed, but Syracuse responded with their first run to take the lead back for good. Pashcal Chukwu converted a lay-up to knot the score, then a Frank Howard foul shot put the Orange on top. Tyus Battle knocked down a three, then Chukwu scored on a putback and tossed a lob to Oshae Brissett, who dropped in a lay-up to make it ten straight points for a 13-5 SU lead.

Colgate responded by getting the better of play for nearly four minutes. Three long distance bombs helped whittle the Syracuse lead down to two points just after the midpoint of the opening half.

The Orange struck back with 18 of the game’s next 22 points, capping the stretch with eight straight, to take a 36-20 stranglehold on the game with just over 90 seconds left in the opening half.

» Related: Could Oshae Brissett leave Syracuse after his freshman year?

Battle started SU off with a three from the right wing, then added a 19-foot pull-up. Following a Red Raider basket, Howard converted a floater into a three-point play and Battle added another pull-up jumper.

After another Colgate score, Howard Washington rattled in a triple, then Marek Dolezaj used a couple slick passes to set up his mates for dunks. The first was a bounce pass to Brissett, who exploded for a two-handed slam in traffic, drawing a foul. Brissett completed the three-point-play, then Dolezaj found Howard alone under the basket on the next possession for the point guard’s dunk.

Colgate struck back with a pair of threes around a Battle lay-up to clip the SU lead to 38-26 at intermission. The Red Raiders continued their long-range assault on the Orange lead when the second half started, using three triples to help halve the lead at 43-37 with just over four-and-a-half minutes gone in the second session.

Syracuse bounced back with nine of the next 12 points of the game to go back up by a dozen. Brissett started the streak with a floater and later added a pair of foul shots. Battle capped the stretch with a three from the left wing for a 52-40 lead just shy of the middle of the half.

While the Orange would nudge that lead out to 13 points on three occasions in the next several minutes, back-to-back Colgate treys would bring the visitors back within 61-54 with 5:45 to play.

SU responded with a finishing kick to put the game away, running up eight unanswered points, almost all of them coming from the charity stripe. Howard opened the burst with a pair of free throws, then connected on a jumper from the top of the key. Battle dropped in a pair of foul shots, then Brissett and Chukwu each tacked on one more for a 69-54 lead with 2:35 to play.

Tyus Battle had 15 of his game-high 24 points in the opening half and hit four triples in the contest. Oshae Brissett had a career high of 20 points in the game, including 13 after halftime. While he turned the ball over five times, Frank Howard had a solid all-around line in the box score, piling up 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Paschal Chukwu had nine rebounds and four blocks to go with five points.

Jack Ferguson paced Colgate with 20 points off the bench, hitting a half dozen three-pointers in the game. Jared Swopshire hit a trio of treys for most of his 13 points while Will Rayman added a dozen points. Sean O’Brien hit three triples for his nine points.

The Orange are off until Saturday, when they will reignite their most bitter rivalry from the Big East by traveling to Washington, DC to face Georgetown. The Hoyas stand 8-0 on the season, but are yet to face any stiff competition, as multiple formulas have them playing the weakest schedule of any Division One team to this point of the season. Seven of their eight opponents are currently ranked #301 or lower in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings this season with the outlier at #217.

Jessie Govan is the top scorer for Georgetown, posting 20.6 points and 13 rebounds per game. Marcus Derrickson (13.5 pts/game) and Kaleb Johnson (12.5 pts/game) are also averaging double figures in scoring on the season.

Syracuse and Georgetown will tip off at 12:30pm Eastern on Saturday with CBS handling the television duties.

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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.