Four takeaways from Syracuse’s 80-68 win over local rival Cornell Big Red

Takeaways from SU's 80-68 win over Cornell on Wednesday night

The Boeheim brothers combined for 38 points in Jimmy's first game against his former team.
Published: December 30, 2021
Alternative Text
Cole Swider, pictured here against Lafayette, scored a season-high 21 points in Syracuse's win over Cornell on Wednesday night.

Syracuse held off Cornell 80-68 at the Dome on Wednesday night in the Orange’s last game of 2021, and their last non-conference game before ACC play.

Buddy Boeheim led the Orange (7-5) with 22 points on 56% from the field. He’s scored 20 or more points in six of Syracuse’s 12 games this year.

SU has now won two in a row following a convincing win over Brown on Monday, after losing back-to-back games to Villanova and Georgetown.

They’ll host Virginia for their second conference game of the season on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Boom or bust defense led to trouble:

Buddy and Joe Girard III played sound positionally at the top of SU’s zone and held the Big Red to long-range, contested shots in the beginning of the night. The Orange forced Cornell into three shot-clock violations in the first half.

But Keller Boothby, who led Cornell with 20 points, and Guy Ragland Jr. teamed up for 10 made triples on the night. The Orange struggled to guard the perimeter consistently and allowed the Big Red to stick around for much of the game.

“Boothby’s a great shooter. One of the best shooters I’ve seen come in here,” Jim Boeheim said. “We did a pretty good job in the second half of finding the shooters, covering the shooters and we forced them into some turnovers.”

Syracuse led by as many as 16 in the first half but ended the first 20 minutes leading by just five.

Jimmy Boeheim did it all against his former team:

Jimmy Boeheim, who played three years with Cornell from 2017-2020, scored 16 points and tacked on seven rebounds against his former team on Wednesday night.

“I got a lot of love for that program and everyone on that sideline,” Jimmy said about Cornell. “They helped me become the player I am now.”

“It was a little weird but it was fun.”

Jimmy scored the first basket of the game on Wednesday night, the 10th time he’s done so in SU’s 12 games this year, and also played well down low in the Orange 2-3 zone. He added an assist and a steal to Syracuse’s seventh win of the season.

“Jimmy learned a lot down there (at Cornell),” Jim said. “I’m glad we had him on our side today. I thought he was really good on both ends of the court.”

Cornell, and its press, wouldn’t go away:

The Orange never trailed and led by as many as 19 in the second half. But the Big Red never wavered in pressuring Syracuse’s point guards Girard and Symir Torrence before they stepped over half-court.

SU fumbled 16 turnovers, five of which came in the final 20 minutes, and the Big Red turned those slip-ups into 18 points of their own. Girard dropped five turnovers, scored five points and dished off five assists.

“They’re hard to play, they trap, they pressure you, they do a really good job down there,” Jim said about Cornell’s defense. “This was the first game (Joe’s) just been out of it a little bit. You know, that’s going to happen. I told him after the game that’s going to happen, the other guys have to pick it up.”

Cole Swider took over in the second half:

Cole Swider sank all three deep balls he shot against Brown on Monday and shot 68% from the field with three shots made from beyond the mark against Cornell.

Swider finished with 21 points, the most he’s totaled in an Orange uniform since transferring from Villanova for this season. He also added five points and two steals to boost the Orange when they faltered. He scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.

“I think as a shooter you just have to keep shooting,” Swider said. “My teammates believe in me, my coaches believe in me. Coach Boeheim keeps on telling me to be aggressive, keeps on telling me to be on the attack, look to score – and I just try to keep that mentality.”

Avatar for Dean Zulkofske

is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse and a magazine, news and digital journalism graduate student from Stony Brook, N.Y.