A quick take on Syracuse’s 81-47 win over St. Bonaventure on Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse, which has struggled out of the gates for much of its non-conference schedule, had no such issues against St. Bonaventure. The Orange percolated early on, taking a commanding 17-2 lead with 14:08 left in the first half. Tyus Battle had 10 of those 17 points, with six of them coming off transition baskets as SU scored 46 points heading into intermission, a season high. It was more of the same in the second half, and a thunderous slam from reserve Robert Braswell with 4:42 to go gave Syracuse a 30 point lead.
ANALYSIS: For the second straight game, Marek Dolezaj started at center, and the results were palpable. Syracuse raced out to a 46-25 lead in the first half thanks to significantly improved ball movement and an opportunistic defense that is more and more looking to convert turnovers into points. Dolezaj stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal, and was able to successfully run pick-and-rolls with Frank Howard, something that was lacking with Paschal Chukwu. The Orange defense, meanwhile, forced 20 turnovers that it turned into 28 points, including 12 on the fastbreak. SU also ended up assisting on 19 of its 29 field goals. Those are all good signs as the Orange finished its non-conference schedule at a disappointing 9-4.
HERO: Battle finished with a game-high 21 points, with Elijah Hughes chipping in 16. Buddy Boeheim enjoyed his second straight game of solid production, scoring a career-high 12 points.
ZERO: With 10 minutes to go, Jalen Poyser was called for a foul and immediately voiced his opinion on the call to Teddy Valentine. The veteran referee was having none of it, and quickly issued a technical foul to Poyser with the Orange already holding a 26 point lead.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse opens ACC play at Notre Dame on Jan. 5 at 12 p.m. It begins a stretch of five games where four of them appear to be winnable, which would allow SU to build some momentum as it tries to get off the NCAA Tournament bubble. Those include home games against Pitt, Clemson and Georgia Tech, with a road game at Duke sandwiched in between.