Men’s Basketball Wins Its Final Exhibition Game
By Zach Lang
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse closed out its final exhibition game with another comeback blowout, defeating Southern Connecticut State 84-59 in the Carrier Dome Monday night.
Veteran playmakers Tyus Battle and Frank Howard led the team after a dreadful first half, scoring 20 and 19 points respectively.
The Orange started slow against SCSU, struggling to find the hoop on shots. Only Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Geno Thorpe scored baskets for Syracuse from the floor in the first half. The team also knocked down just two of 13 from three-point range. This and other offensive inconsistencies gave SCSU the lead at the half, 29-24.
“I think we can make shots, but we don’t want to have to start out that way,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We just didn’t make hustle plays, we didn’t rebound.”
The second half began with Syracuse opening the flood gates, pouring on 14 points in less than three minutes. The Orange’s three-point game finally hit its stride as SU shot 41 percent from downtown. Brissett would ignite the offense by netting a three-pointer on the first possession.
“Any shot that goes in is a stress reliever for the whole team,” Brissett explained excitedly. “We just weren’t relaxed so when one goes down, everyone gets excited.”
The Owls had an impressive stroke from behind the arc in the first half, but it did not last. SCSU was outscored 60-30 in the final 20 minutes of the contest. Isaiah McLeod led the team with 18 points. The team struggled with Syracuse’s full court press on multiple possessions and lacked at the charity stripe as a team, shooting just over 56 percent.
Tyus Battle struggled from the field despite leading the team in scoring. He shot just 4 of 15, two of which were three-pointers. The majority of his points came from the free throw line, where he shot a perfect 10 of 10.
Turnovers were an issue for Battle, who had three throughout the contest. As a whole, Boeheim’s squad turned it over 17 times. Howard and Chukwu each had three as well.
Syracuse’s big men again showed promise after their block party against Southern New Hampshire. Bourama Sidibe grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and recorded five blocks.
Paschal Chukwu added seven rebounds and three blocks. Boeheim even utilized the full court press. He said it was possible because the team has such gifted centers.
“The difference this year than last year is we have a shot blocker,” Boeheim said. “I think we can press a little bit more this year. I think we’re a little bit better defensively.”
The Orange look to improve on this game’s mistakes before Friday’s season opener against Cornell. The game will take place in the Dome where Boeheim will be coaching against his son, Jimmy Boeheim, who plays for the Big Red.