Syracuse dispatches Lehigh as college basketball returns

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Nov 7, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a play in the second half against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Monday at JMA Wireless Dome. Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports.

Syracuse opened their 2022-2023 campaign with a relatively routine 90-72 victory over Lehigh at the JMA Wireless Dome. The Orange did not lead until shortly before the midpoint of the opening half, but turned on the afterburners for the rest of the session, taking a commanding lead over the Mountain Hawks.

SU was very effective on defense in the first half, playing man-to-man the majority of the way as they held the guests to 34.4 percent overall shooting and a mere 1-for-10 from three before the break. Both squads opened it up after halftime, each posting 46 points with Syracuse shooting 63.0 percent from the floor, outpacing Lehigh’s 51.6 percent mark.

It should not come as a surprise that a team from the Patriot League had a very difficult time dealing with Jesse Edwards, who rolled up 14 points and five rebounds in the first half on the way to posting 18 points and 11 boards with three blocks and a pair of steals. Joe Girard III bested Edwards in the scoring column, though, hitting his last four shots, including three triples, to reach a team-high 19 points. Judah Mintz added 16 points for the Orange.

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SU had an 18-4 run in the first half to turn a four-point deficit into a 29-19 lead with just over six minutes left in the session. Mintz needed less than five minutes to hang all ten of his first half points in the burst.

Lehigh halved the margin, but Syracuse closed the half with a 15-2 run for a 44-26 edge at intermission. Girard bookended that stretch with four free throws on the front end and a three-pointer just before the break to close the burst.

After that finishing kick of the first half, the Orange never allowed the Mountain Hawks closer than 15 points until the visitors wrapped a 13-3 run with under 90 seconds remaining. An 11-3 run early in the second half had ballooned the SU lead to 24 points, a margin they matched twice in the final six minutes before coasting to the final horn.

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About Jim Stechschulte 856 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. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.