Coming off a 16-day COVID pause, Syracuse topped Brown 93-62 in their return to the court. Here are the key takeaways from this game:
Syracuse’s defense starts slow
In their first game in over two weeks, the Orange looked sluggish early after jumping out to an early 14-point lead.
SU got outrebounded 20-17 in the first half and surrendered 12 3-pointers to the Bears, heading into halftime up just 38-32.
“We got good shots and we made them,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Sometimes the defense has been good but shots haven’t fallen. We keep getting good shots and we are certainly capable of making them.”
The Orange made some key adjustments at halftime, flustering Brown with its 1-3-1 defense. It eliminated the Bears’ ability to make the entry pass into the high post, and Brown shot just 4-18 from downtown in the second half and just 12-39 overall.
Buddy Boeheim provides the spark offensively
Last year, Buddy Boeheim missed extended time after contracting COVID and lost his shooting rhythm, something he didn’t regain until ACC play.
Buddy Boeheim admitted that shooting in the gym just simply cannot simulate an in-game experience.
But Buddy Boeheim showed no signs of rust, as an eight point burst coming out of the locker room at halftime led to him finishing with 28 points on 11-19 shooting.
“We had to be confident coming out,” Buddy Boeheim said. “If you miss you miss but we did a good job on defense and going out to make shots. Continuing to make plays and the start to the second half was big.”
Syracuse seeks to keep offensive flow
Syracuse had one of its best offensive outings of the season, shooting 57.4 percent from the field and 13-21 from beyond the arc.
Certainly, the aforementioned Buddy Boeheim had a lot to do with it, but the Orange got plenty of other contributions from Cole Swider (13 points), Jimmy Boeheim (13), and Joe Girard (15).
The Orange even got some bench production, as Frank Anselem, Benny Williams and Symir Torrence all scored.
But perhaps the offensive highlight of evening came from walk-on Chris LaValle.
The Syracuse native and graduate guard scored his first collegiate points on a nifty spin in the lane against Brown guard Aaron Cooley in the game’s closing moments, drawing a huge reaction from the bench.