Syracuse basketball shakes off slow start, outlasting Cornell

Syracuse forward Quincy Guerrier
Syracuse forward Quincy Guerrier shoots from the outside. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Cornell was game, but Syracuse posted a pair of second half runs that allowed them to secure a 72-53 victory at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night. The Orange (3-1) had runs of 9-3, 9-2, and 8-0 after halftime, the final one allowing them to reinstate a double-digit lead with just over 6:30 to play.

The SU offense that performed so well on Saturday was absent in the first half against the Big Red (1-4). The hosts made under 36 percent of their shots in the first half, but improved in the second session, hitting 60 percent from the floor and turning the ball over just twice after halftime. The Orange will likely find solace in the fact that 18 of their 25 field goals were assisted.

Fortunately, the SU defense was strong throughout, allowing Cornell to make just 6-of-27 (22.2 percent) three-point shots on the night. The Big Red shot well inside the arc, but those opportunities were limited and they finished at 35 percent from the field overall. Syracuse held a 35-24 edge on the glass, which included an 18-8 rebounding advantage in the second half.

The Orange allowed a three-pointer to start the scoring, but answered with ten straight points to take charge. Four different players got in on the fun, including triples from Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard III, the latter closing the run with SU on top, 10-3, just three-and-a-half minutes into the action.

A three from Elijah Hughes nudged the lead out to eight points a minute later and a Bourama Sidibe lay-up with seven minutes elapsed made it an 18-9 game in favor of Syracuse.

» Related: The last time Syracuse basketball played at Colgate and Cornell

Cornell crept closer over the next several minutes and employed a 7-2 run to draw within 22-19 with just under seven minutes until halftime. The Orange stopped the run with a Boeheim jumper, but neither side scored after that for the next three minutes.

The Big Red’s Jimmy Boeheim, however, took over the game at that point. He broke a team scoring drought of more than three-and-a-half minutes with a pair of free throws, then added lay-ups on the next two trips to put Cornell in front 25-24, and force a Syracuse time out.

Buddy Boeheim broke the run with a basket in the final minute of the half, giving SU a 26-25 intermission advantage. Syracuse extended that lead in the first three minutes after the break, as four different players scored in a 9-3 run capped by a Sidibe slam for a 35-28 lead.

Jimmy Boeheim immediately set to taking apart that lead, getting a lay-up and a three on consecutive possessions to pull Cornell back within a deuce.

The first media timeout of the second half followed and the Orange came out of it ready to go. Marek Dolezaj scored twice to get the hosts going, then Elijah Hughes offset a pair of Big Red fouls shots with two of his own. Girard connected from deep to close the 9-2 run and force a Cornell time out with SU in front, 44-35.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 586 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.