SU Basketball v Southern Connecticut

Tyus Battle charges Syracuse to victory in Boeheim family contest

The Orange finished shooting 51.4 percent in the second half.

Syracuse men’s basketball season got off on the right foot on Friday, as Jim Boeheim and his team grabbed a 77-45 win over Cornell University.

With 21,170 fans eagerly awaiting this in-state rivalry, much of the focus was on one specific matchup. Cornell freshman forward Jimmy Boeheim would open his collegiate career with his father as the opposing coach. While rooting for his son to do well, he wanted the Orange to win the game, Boeheim said.

Jimmy opened the game with a corner 3-point shot in front of the Syracuse bench. He then followed up with another basket.

Syracuse got off to a quicker start than in earlier games, as sophomore guard Tyus Battle hit the team's first shot attempt. In the exhibition games, they got off to slow starts and didn’t grab leads for minutes.

Both teams struggled to hit its opening shots to start the game. Syracuse capitalized on their free-throws, where they were 9 of 12 in the first half, and this game remained close.

Battle is the only returning starter from last season and is taking more of a leadership position this season.

While understanding the different nature of this year compared to last, he was pleased with his play with fellow guard Frank Howard.

"I felt more comfortable with Frank. We have those tough games under our belts, those big ACC games," Battle said.

Howard had similar thoughts on the offensive performance, crediting the year he and Battle had.

"We're still learning, they're still learning the offense. It'll come," Howard said. The redshirt junior finished with 9 points and four assists.

Freshman forward Oshae Brissett was the only true freshman starter for the Orange and did well in his debut. He recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. His ability to play on the transition helped kickstart the offense at the end of the first half. He continued the game with clear vision and the ability to grab both offensive and defensive rebounds.

One notable performance came from freshman forward Bourama Sidibe, who proved to be an asset on the glass. Sidibe grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots. He spent the game switching off on the middle of the famous 2-3 zone with center Paschal Chuwku.

Freshman forward Marek Dolezaj was a weapon on the offensive glass for Boeheim. On multiple occasions he’d track runners and put the ball up. He even would follow and put back his own shot with ease. Dolezaj also hit his first three-pointer from straight on the basket. The forward from Slovakia finished with eight points in his Syracuse debut.

The Orange started their second half stronger with shooting, hitting three of their first five shots. Chukwu got on the score sheet and Battle hit his first three-pointer of the game, followed by a drive left, spin around a defender and finish with his right.

Boeheim seemed content keeping his starting five in to start the second half, which led to a 16-4 run in the first five minutes.

Fans saw more out of graduate transfer Geno Thorpe. Thorpe’s addition paid off, grabbing four points and two steals. However, Boeheim thinks there's more to come.

"Geno isn't hitting his shots. He isn't there yet," Boeheim said.

While it is only the first game of the season, he recently changed up his jump shot. Last game, Boeheim said he’d been working on his jumper, so wouldn’t be surprised if he saw more success in his game.

Howard caught a fast break opportunity with forward Matthew Moyer and Brissett filling the key. When the defender dragged towards Brissett, Howard dished a no look pass in Moyer’s stride, who grabbed the easy dunk.

Thorpe threw a great outlet pass to Brisset, who brought the crowd to their feet again with a vicious slam.

By the end, Syracuse’s presence on the glass proved decisive. The Orange outrebounded Cornell 52-36.

The Orange play their next game on Nov. 14 when they welcome Iona College to the Carrier Dome. The game starts at 7 p.m.

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