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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 11:24 pm

Joe Girard III powers Syracuse men’s basketball past Seattle 89-67

By Karl Moeglein

CitrusTV Men’s Basketball Reporter

After a pair of slow starts in the first two games, Syracuse exploded against Seattle, jumping out to a 15-4 lead after the first break. Freshman Joe Girard III sparked the change of pace, making his first career start at point guard as a member of the Orange. With sophomore Jalen Carey watching from the bench, Girard’s 24 points powered Syracuse (2-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) to a 89-67 win over Seattle (2-3, 0-0 Western Athletic). 

These early non-conference contests are critical for coaches to figure out their rotations. After three games, SU head coach Jim Boeheim seems to be trending towards his final answer. Girard mans the point with sophomore Buddy Boeheim in the backcourt with him. A trio of juniors in Elijah Hughes, Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj fill out the starting lineup.

Quincy Guerrier seems to be the first sub as the freshman has already picked up solid minutes. The Canadian made the most of 17 minutes against Seattle with 14 points. 

Girard’s impact went beyond his own production as he spaced the floor for the big men inside. Dolezaj, Sidibe, and Guerrier combined for 40 points inside with Dolezaj setting a career high with 19 points.

“When you have shooters like that, they pull away the focus. That gives every player more time and space to make a play,” Hughes said. 

Late in the first half, Hughes blocked a Seattle shot, leading to one of Girard’s five three-pointers on the other end. The shot gave Syracuse a 42-20 lead and brought the crowd to its feet. 

Syracuse had the game well in hand even when Seattle used an 8-0 run to cut the lead down to 61-53. The Orange took advantage in the paint and at the charity stripe when the shots weren’t falling outside. SU made 36 trips to the charity stripe, their most so far this season. 

Syracuse finished the game with its highest scoring output since totaling 91 points against top-ranked Duke last year in an overtime win. The Orange have two more non-conference games against teams from smaller conferences in Cornell and Bucknell before heading to New York City for more NIT Season Tipoff action.