Syracuse basketball turns slow start into easy finish against Colgate

Marek Dolezaj
Nov. 13, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Marek Dolezaj (21) looks to pass against the Colgate Raiders in a 70-54 win. Mandatory Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Just over 15 minutes into Wednesday night’s matchup between Syracuse and Colgate, the game was tied at 24 a side. The Orange (1-1) used the next dozen minutes to completely take control, ripping off a 22-4 run for an 18-point lead and cruised to a 70-54 victory over the Raiders (1-2) at the Carrier Dome.

A week after they could hardly buy a shot against Virginia, SU got off to another slow start, missing their first eight shots from the field, but rebounded to finish the night hitting just under 51 percent of their field goal attempts. Rebounding was something else the Orange did well, finishing with a 42-31 rebounding edge, including snaring a dozen offensive boards.

Colgate relied on the three-pointer on the night, as 41 of their 60 field goal attempts came from deep. The Raiders made 13 of them, but shot only 30 percent overall from the field.

Colgate owned the first six minutes of the contest, as Syracuse could not find the bottom of the basket. The visitors got three triples in that time, pulling out to a 9-1 lead.

SU responded with their first run of the night, needing a little over three minutes to post 12 of the game’s next 14 points. Bourama Sidibe started the streak with a couple baskets inside, but the Raiders answered with a field goal. The Orange then went outside, as Buddy Boeheim buried a pair of triples to tie the game. Sidibe then gave Syracuse their first lead just after the nine-minute mark by tapping home a Boeheim miss for a 13-11 edge.

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The two squads traded markers for a few minutes, but the Orange posted three straight baskets to go up by six. Elijah Hughes got the first pair, starting with a three-pointer, and Joe Girard III got a jumper from the free throw line to rattle home late in the shot clock for a 24-18 lead with less than six minutes to go in the opening half.

Colgate responded with a pair of triples to erase the gap, but SU scored seven of the half’s final eight points for a 31-25 halftime lead.

Syracuse came out of the intermission flying, blowing open the game with a 15-3 run capped by 11 straight points. Marek Dolezaj scored the first two baskets after the break, the latter by going coast to coast with a rebound, making a spin move to avoid a defender, then ramming home a two-handed dunk to the delight of the crowd.

A Raider three slowed the Orange only briefly. Hughes started the closing stretch of 11 straight points with a foul shot. Girard stepped into a long transition three, then stole the ball and floated a pretty lob to Sidibe for a dunk and a Colgate time out. The break did not stop SU, as Girard fed Hughes for a transition three from the left wing and Boeheim got a friendly roll on a fadeaway for a 46-28 advantage less than eight minutes out of the break.

Later in the half, Syracuse all but finished the game with seven straight points in less than a minute. Sidibe’s jump hook curled in to start things off, then Boeheim drove the right side of the paint for a lay-up and leaked out for a transition three and a 58-34 lead, the largest of the night, with under eight minutes to go.

The margin remained at least 20 points until Colgate posted a 7-0 run to get within 16 points with just over a minute to play.

Buddy Boeheim paced all scorers with 17 points, hitting three triples along the way. Elijah Hughes also connected on a trio of treys as he added 14 points and a game-high eight assists. Bourama Sidibe notched his second career double-double with a dozen points and 14 boards.

Only two players from Colgate reached double figures. Jordan Burns had 12 points to lead the Raiders while Nelly Cummings chipped in with ten. Rapolas Ivanauskas topped Colgate with nine rebounds and six assists.

SU returns to the Carrier Dome floor on Saturday when they will host Seattle in the first game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Redhawks, who play in the WAC, stand 2-2 on the season with both victories coming against Division III schools. Their two contests against Division I schools were an 85-54 loss at Washington State and a 74-66 loss against Eastern Washington. Guard Terrell Brown piled up 55 points and 23 rebounds in those two losses combined.

Tip-off is set for 7:00pm Eastern and the contest will be televised by the ACC Network.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 599 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, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.