Eight strong minutes of play wiped out a lot of sins on Wednesday night, as Syracuse used a 28-3 second half run capped by 17 straight points to blow out Colgate at the Carrier Dome, 77-56. Junior Tyus Battle was a driving force in the surge for the Orange (3-2), scoring half of his game-high 24 points in the burst. The hot streak helped subdue the Raiders (3-2), who had poured in 11 three-pointers to that point, but only made a single triple in the game’s final 15 minutes.
As would be expected, SU dominated their Patriot League foes inside, ending up with a 46-30 advantage on the glass, including pulling in 18 offensive rebounds, and a 34-8 lead in points in the paint. Syracuse shot 43.3 percent from the field on the night, but their second half hot stretch was part of a span where they hit 12-of-15 attempts from the field.
Point guard Frank Howard made his first appearance of the season, starting both the game and the Orange scoring with a three-pointer from the left break on SU’s second possession.
Despite Howard’s debut, Colgate’s Will Rayman was the story of the game’s first nine minutes. The 6’8” forward blistered the nets early, including draining three consecutive three-pointers, as he rolled up 13 points while pushing the Raiders to a 16-12 lead.
Colgate would nudge that lead out to five, but Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe would erase that margin. Sidibe dropped in a free throw, then Dolezaj went the distance with a steal for a lay-up. Dolezaj then fed Sidibe in the post for a lay-in that tied the game at 21 with under seven minutes left in the first half.
The Raiders would go back in front by four, but Syracuse ran off ten straight points to take the lead. Elijah Hughes drained a jumper and Sidibe followed with a pair of foul shots to tie the score. Tyus Battle added a free throw to put the Orange in front. Sidibe scored in the post again, then Howard made a steal and fed Battle for a triple from the right wing that gave SU a 35-29 lead with just over a minute left in the opening half.
Colgate halved the margin with a trey before the half, then added on two more threes to start the second session and go back in front. The Raiders got one more triple for a 43-41 lead just over four minutes into the half, but that is when the damn broke and an Orange wave swept over the guests.
Battle came out of the first media timeout of the second half and slashed to the rim for a lay-up. Howard then dished for a pair of threes, the first from Hughes on the left wing and the second when Battle hit from the right wing.
Colgate hung in for a couple minutes, but Syracuse let loose 17 straight points to blow the game open. Battle and Oshae Brissett started the run with lay-ups, the latter as the base of a three-point play. Hughes buried consecutive three-pointers from the left side to push the lead to 17 points.
Brissett finished a drive on the left baseline, then Battle hung in the air for another inside basket. Dolezaj cleaned up an offensive rebound to finish the burst and give SU a 69-46 lead with just under seven-and-a-half minutes to play.
The Orange would later tack on seven more unanswered points to widen the gap to 28 points with under three minutes to play, signaling for the clearing of benches.
Tyus Battle was very efficient, draining 8-of-10 field goals, including each of his three triple tries, for a game-high 24 points. Oshae Brissett and Elijah Hughes each racked up 17 points, the former falling just one rebound shy of a double-double, including grabbing seven offensive boards, and the latter hitting three triples for over half his output. Playing 23 minutes in part due to starting center Paschal Chukwu leaving with an undisclosed injury, Bourama Sidibe had a double-double off the bench with 11 points and ten rebounds, half on the offensive glass.
Jordan Burns and Will Rayman led Colgate with 13 points apiece. Tucker Richardson chipped in with nine points. Each of the three connected on a trio of three-point shots.
Syracuse is off until next Wednesday, when they will travel to Columbus to face #23 Ohio State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Buckeyes stand 5-0 on the season, highlighted by a 64-56 season-opening victory over Cincinnati. OSU will also host Cleveland State on Friday night.
Ohio State has spread minutes around on the season, as seven players average between 20 and 29 minutes per contest. Three different Buckeyes average in double figures, paced by Kaleb Wesson’s 13.8 points per game. Six different players have made at least five triples on the young season for the Bucks, who are shooting a hair under 40 percent from three-point range collectively.
Wednesday’s tip time and television coverage are yet to be confirmed. Either ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the contest, which will start at either 7:15pm or 7:30pm Eastern. The game will also be available online at ESPN3.com.