Girard shrugs off slump as Syracuse basketball pummels Rider

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Syracuse’s Kadary Richmond dribbles the ball against Rider’s Dwight Murray Jr. on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports

Saturday evening, Syracuse rode hot three-point shooting in the first half to a big early lead and an 87-52 home win over an overmatched Rider squad. The Orange (3-0) had five runs of at least eight points where they held their opponents scoreless and tied a school record with 15 made three-pointers in the game, making a dozen of them in the first half in routing the Broncs (0-1).

Joe Girard III and Alan Griffin each were hot early, pouring in four first half threes, while Woody Newton came off the bench firing, connecting on all three of his shots from behind the arc in the half. SU started 8-of-9 from three-point range, shot 12-of-18 from deep in the first half, and finished the game 50 percent from long range. Syracuse ended up shooting 54.9 percent overall and totaled 24 assists on their 28 field goals.

Rider struggled to score consistently, shooting 29.3 percent overall and just 25.9 percent on three-point shots. As was expected, the Orange owned the interior against the smaller Broncs, claiming a 41-29 rebounding advantage and scoring 20 points in the paint to the guests’ ten.

Just over a minute into the game, SU ran off nine straight points to take a double-digit lead with less than three minutes off the clock. Alan Griffin came out firing, connecting on threes from the right wing and deep left wing. Marek Dolezaj swished a jumper from the right wing, then Joe Girard added a free throw for a 12-2 Syracuse lead.

Less than two-and-a-half minutes later, Griffin triggered a run of 11 straight points with his fourth triple of the night. Girard followed his example, wrapping two threes from the left side around a lob to Quincy Guerrier for a backdoor alley-oop dunk. The latter Girard three ended the competitive part of the game at 26-6 with just over seven-and-a-half minutes off the clock, as Rider never got within 16 points after that.

The Orange hung one more run in the first half, getting eight points from a pair of freshmen. Kadary Richmond made a steal and went the distance for a two-handed slam. Woody Newton made a left wing three off a crosscourt bounce pass in transition from Dolezaj, then another trey from the left break to stretch the SU lead to 46-20 with under four minutes left in the opening half.

The Broncs would chip away over the remaining time in the first half, drawing within 49-29 at intermission.

Syracuse delivered the finishing blow just over five minutes into the second half, running off a dozen straight points. Dolezaj and Guerrier both dropped in lay-ups in transition, then Griffin made both ends from the foul line. Girard swished a three from the right wing, then Guerrier was fouled and credited with a basket on a goaltending call. His foul shot pushed the Orange lead to 66-35 with 9:35 remaining.

SU tacked on their final run, this one of ten straight points, a couple minutes later. Griffin started the streak by slicing through the Broncs for a lay-up. Girard and Guerrier each added a triple, then Frank Anselem made a pair of foul shots for a 77-40 lead with 5:28 on the clock. The lead would touch 38 points a little over a minute later before settling on the 87-52 final.

Alan Griffin had a brutally efficient shooting night, making 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep as he led all scorers with 23 points in just 29 minutes. Joe Girard III had his best shooting night of the young season, hitting 6-of-12 threes as he poured in 21 points. Quincy Guerrier was the third SU player in double figures with 11 points, nine coming after halftime. Woody Newton scored nine points and led SU with eight rebounds while Kadary Richmond had seven points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

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Dwight Murray Jr. paced Rider with 20 points and six assists, making three triples in the game. Christian Ings added nine points while Rodney Henderson Jr. and Allen Powell each chipped in with eight.

The Orange will reunite with an old Big East opponent on Tuesday when they travel to #24 Rutgers to play in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Scarlet Knights have won all three games they have played to this point, each one at home. Their most recent game was a 70-56 victory over Hofstra last Sunday, so Rutgers will have had over a week to prepare for SU.

Ron Harper Jr. leads three Rutgers players averaging double figures in scoring, averaging 21 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game. Montez Mathis and Jacob Young both are averaging 15.3 points per outing, the latter also leading the team with 5.7 assists and 2.7 steals per contest.

The Syracuse-Rutgers game will tip off at 9:30pm Eastern with ESPN2 handling the television responsibilities.

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About Jim Stechschulte 725 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.