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Wednesday, Nov 07, 2018 at 12:43 am

Men’s Basketball Dominates Eastern Washington in Season Opener

By Luke McGrath

CitrusTV Basketball Reporter

SYRACUSE, N.Y. –No. 16 Syracuse (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) dominated its way to a season opening 66-34 win over Eastern Washington (0-1, 0-0 Big Sky).

The win improves SU head coach Jim Boeheims’ record in season openers to 39-4. The win is also a part of the 2K Empire Classic, an annual tournament held at the beginning of the each year.

From the opening tip, the Orange defense blanketed the Eagles. Eastern Washington’s 34 points ties the fewest points ever allowed in a game by Syracuse under Boeheim. Syracuse won the turnover battle 19-10, leading to a 33-8 advantage in points off turnovers.

Much of the defensive success in the season opener came from the press the Orange employed at different points throughout the night. Boeheim said the press also helped the Orange pick it up offensively allowing SU to pick up some easy buckets.

“We really couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Boeheim said. “We got some steals, you know that was really I thought the difference in the game, we got points off the press.”

The lone players that did produce offensively was sophomore Oshae Brissett, who led all scorers with 20 points and tacked on eight rebounds.  played a big role in the strong defensive performance, tallying three steals on the night. No other player reached double digits on the night.

“I mean that’s Oshae, you know that’s my roommate,” transfer Elijah Hughes said. “You know he’s a dog, he’s gonna go out there and get you a double-double, easily a double-double and make it look effortless.”

 

While Brissett may have fallen short of a double-double, he was clearly a dominating force on the floor all night.

Some other notable statistics following the Oranges lopsided victory over EMU include just eight points from Tyus Battle on 3-10 shooting in 29 minutes. Hughes and Buddy Boeheim also struggled from the field going 2-8 for seven and 1-11 for three, respectively. The trios poor shooting night played a big factor in SU’s sub 40 percent field goal percentage for the night. Additionally, Syracuse went just 3-17 from three point range.

Not everyone struggled from the field, Marek Dolezaj went 3-3 from the field for seven. Bouruma Sidibe and Paschal Chukwu combined for 5-7 shooting for 14 points, rounding out a solid night for SU’s big men.

Importantly for SU fans, Tuesday night marked the first time Jalen Carey suited up since he sprained his ankle in the Orange and White game, and although Tuesday night’s attendance fell just short of 20,000, it was still an atmosphere the freshman guard had never experienced before.

“It’s so crazy, in my head on the bench I was thinking this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball, you know just playing with a great group of guys,” Carey said.

Carey and the rest of the Orange look to continue the fun and improve to 2-0 this Saturday in SU’s next game of the 2K Empire Classic hosting Morehead State with tipoff set for 7 p.m.

Lumcgrat@syr.edu | @L_McGrath14