A quick take on Syracuse’s embarrassing 100-85 loss to Colgate on Saturday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse’s 54-game winning streak against Colgate, dating back to 1963, finally ended on Saturday. The Raiders exposed SU’s inability to defend the perimeter, as the Raiders hit 18 of its 43 attempts, methodically picking apart SU’s zone. Colgate went into halftime up 46-43, a lead that would expand to as much as 81-70 with 5:28 to go before a two Cole Swider free throws pull the Orange within five. That is as close as Syracuse would get, as Colgate easily broke the SU press gobbled up offensive rebounds in key moments. While the Raiders were shooting at a torrid pace, SU’s shooters went mostly cold (with the exception of Joe Girard), as the Orange shot 7 for 23 from distance and were outrebounded 44-34.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse needs to learn from its mistakes quickly, because the schedule gets significantly harder from here on out. The Orange eased into the season against three mid-majors (even if two of them, Colgate and Drexel, were NCAA Tournament teams last year), and will now face seven consecutive high-majors. SU plays three games (all high-majors) in the Battle 4 Atlantis and then hosts Indiana in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge to end the month. Then they’ll open ACC play against Florida State, and play in New York City against Villanova before finishing the gauntlet against Georgetown. While we’ve learned a bit about the team through three games, the next seven should be a good indicator of whether Syracuse is a legitimate NCAA Tournament team, or whether they will be back on the bubble again.
HERO: Colgate’s starting backcourt of Jack Ferguson and Nelly Cummings shot a combined 12 for 26 from beyond the arc, and tallied 43 points between them. That was matched by SU’s backcourt of Girard and Buddy Boeheim, who combined for 46 points on 7 for 14 shooting from 3-point land.
ZERO: Cole Swider was saddled with foul trouble all afternoon, and played just 24 minutes, going 0-4 from 3 and finishing with 8 points. His understudy, Benny Williams, was -26 on the court (as noted by Jim Boeheim in postgame) and committed three turnovers.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play VCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday at 5 p.m. TV: ESPN2.