Syracuse played the first of two October exhibitions, topping Div. II Daemen 90-71 on Saturday evening at the Carrier Dome. Here’s three things we learned from the game:
LIVE AND DIE BY THE 3
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has repeatedly said that for the Orange to be successful this season, they will need to rely on the 3-point shot.
That offensive philosophy was on display on Saturday, with SU shooting 15 of 32 (46.9 percent) from downtown. Its 45 points from beyond the arc accounted for half of its offense.
The diversity of marksmen was encouraging. Six different players hit a 3-pointer, including Elijah Hughes (5-7), Buddy Boeheim (2-6), Jalen Carey (1-1), Brycen Goodine (2-4) and Joe Girard (2-5).
That number could be as high as eight on any given night, with Quincy Guerrier (0-2) and Marek Dolezaj (0-3) also with the ability to shoot from distance.
“We’re probably going to shoot a lot of threes,” Boeheim said. “I’d say that’s fair.”
SYRACUSE STRUGGLES WITH TURNOVERS
Syracuse’s primary ball handlers from last season, Tyus Battle and Frank Howard, are no longer with the team, and SU will rely on newcomers Girard, Goodine and Carey to distribute the ball.
There were some good moments, with the Orange assisting on 18 of its 33 field goals. But Boeheim was quick to point out that the Orange was far too sloppy with the ball, turning it over 20 times.
“We made some bad turnovers, we weren’t quite ready in certain situations, which there’s no excuse for,” Boeheim said. “We have three guards that made 12 turnovers and that’s not going to get it done.”
One particular sequence to begin the second half personified this.
Carey, who has emerged from camp as the team’s starting point guard, had his pocket picked twice on the first two possessions out of intermission. That drew an icy stare from Boeheim and a timeout, where the coach unleashed his wrath on Carey and relegated him to the bench.
Goodine subbed in for Carey and immediately committed a turnover, drawing a collective sigh from the crowd.
Goodine (5), Girard (4) and Carey (3) were the main culprits.
“Two freshmen and two sophomore guards aren’t going to figure it out in the first week,” Boeheim said. “It’s going to take a while.”
BRASWELL SHINES; SYRACUSE HAD DEEP ROTATION
While Hughes’s 24 points on 8-10 shooting was clearly the star performance of the night, the biggest surprise of the night came from Braswell.
The sophomore was the only other SU player in double figures, and he finished with 17 points in just 21 minutes, connecting on six of seven shots. He also added four rebounds, a steal and a block.
Braswell played sparingly last year, appearing in just 12 games and was a non-factor down the stretch.
But with Oshae Brissett leaving early for the NBA, that has opened up playing time, and Braswell is among the candidates to find a spot in the rotation at wing.
“He made shots,” Boeheim said. “He’s been shooting the ball well. That guy in that position, either Marek (Dolezaj) or Robert (Braswell) are going to get that shot. The way we play, that shot is available.”
There is more parity among the starters and reserves than in recent years, and it’ll be interesting to see where Boeheim settles in on his rotation. Nine players played 15 minutes or more, and that doesn’t include Jessie Edwards, who was the first player off the bench (he finished with 11 minutes).
“I’m happy about the way we played with eight or nine,” Boeheim said. “I think we’ll wind up in that area. If we can be successful that way, that’s what we’ll do. If not, we’ll play the number we think we can be successful with.”