A quick take on Syracuse’s 80-68 win over Cornell on Wednesday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange jumped out to an early 17-2 lead, but Cornell unleashed a torrent of 3-pointers before half, hitting six of them in seven minutes to pull to within 34-29 at intermission. The score remained close until Cole Swider scored eight straight points for SU, part of a 16-6 run as the Orange took a 60-43 lead with 11:11 left. The Big Red pulled to within single digits after a Dean Noll 3-pointer with 2:11 to go made it 75-66. But the Orange made its free throws down the stretch and the Orange closed its non-conference schedule with a win to improve to 7-5.
ANALYSIS: Though Syracuse won, familiar bugaboos still continue to plague the Orange. Its perimeter defense remains leaky, as Cornell connected on 15 3-pointers at a 32.6 percent clip. The Big Red also attempted 46 3-pointers, which continues a trend of the Orange giving up the most shots attempts from beyond the arc in college basketball. Ball security was an issue as well, as the Orange coughed up the ball 16 times. Joe Girard (5) and Symir Torrence (2) were among the chief culprits, as each had difficulty handling the ball against the Cornell press. Elsewhere, the Orange surrendered a -3 margin on the glass against a smaller and less athletic Big Red team. In particular the 19 offensive rebounds is a concerning sign as Syracuse prepares for the heart of ACC play.
HERO: Offensively, Syracuse hummed along, led by the Boeheim brothers, who combined for 38 points. Cole Swider also chipped in 21 points and five rebounds. While the Orange struggled against the Cornell press, the Big Red looked flustered at times against the zone, as they committed 22 turnovers.
ZERO: Girard, who has shot better than 50 percent from beyond the arc this year, had a rare off night, as he shot just 1-5 from 3-point land for five points to go with his five turnovers. Syracuse also struggled to locate Keller Boothby, who led Cornell with 20 points on 6-11 shooting from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts Virginia on Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. The Cavaliers are 7-5 on the season, with embarrassing losses to Navy and JMU. TV: ACC Network.