A quick take on Syracuse’s frustrating 85-84 win over Bryant in its 2020-21 season opener in front of an empty Carrier Dome arena:
WHAT HAPPENED: With 11 seconds left and Syracuse clinging to an 85-84 lead, Quincy Guerrier was fouled and missed a front end of a one-and-one. Marek Dolezaj grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled, but he also missed the front end of his one-and-one, leaving Bryant with a chance to win with nine seconds left. But the Bulldogs couldn’t pull off the upset, as Peter Kiss missed an open 3-pointer and Michael Green III missed a fall-away jumper as time expired. Bryant and coach Jared Grasso gave SU all it could handle, as a Charles Pride layup with 16:55 to go made it 60-48. But the Orange rallied, and a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers from Buddy Boeheim made it 73-72 Bryant with 8:11 to go.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse didn’t have any practices from Nov. 15 through 25 after head coach Jim Boeheim tested positive for COVID, and the rust showed. The Orange looked discombobulated on defense, allowing Bryant to shoot 43.7 percent from the field and 13 for 37 from downtown. Even when the Bulldogs missed, they collected eight offensive rebounds. Jim Boeheim also showed that his rotation will once again be tight. Though he played freshmen Frank Anselem and Kadary Richmond, along with Robert Braswell in Jesse Edwards in small stints, Jim Boeheim barely subbed in the second half, going with a lineup of Joe Girard III (more on him below), Buddy Boeheim, Guerrier, Dolezaj and Alan Griffin throughout the second half (Bourama Sidibe was injured in the early minutes and didn’t play the majority of the game).
HERO: Buddy Boeheim (23 points) and Dolezaj (20 points, nine assists, six rebounds, five steals) led Syracuse. In limited minutes, Richmond showed that he will be a mainstay in the rotation, scoring five points to go with three rebounds and a steal. Griffin chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.
ZERO: Girard played one of the worst games of his SU career, scoring just six points on 2-14 shooting and 2-9 from beyond the arc. While it was easy to question why Jim Boeheim didn’t sub Richmond in during Girard’s struggles, Girard eventually rewarded the faith, making two critical 3-pointers: His first bucket of the game coming with 6:14 to go putting the Orange up 75-73, and again with 2:16 left to put the Orange back on top 83-82.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns to action against Niagara on Dec. 3, at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Carrier Dome, televised on the ACC Regional Sport Networks.