Syracuse men’s basketball dismantles Lafayette, 97-63, in season opener
Syracuse men’s basketball dismantles Lafayette, 97-63, in opener
If the first game of the Syracuse men’s basketball season is any indication, 2021-22 really might be the Year of Boeheim.
Head coach Jim Boeheim is back for his 46th season at the helm, comfortably the longest-tenured head coach at the Division I level. Preseason All-American guard Buddy Boeheim was up to his usual tricks, pouring home a casual 18 points. And Graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim scored the first eight points for the Orange (1-0) en route to tying his brother with 18 tallies of his own.
Combine all this with a brilliant performance from junior guard Joe Girard III, who led all scorers with 20, and Lafayette never really stood a chance. Cuse was in control from the opening tip and downed the Leopards (0-1) 97-63.
“First game out of the box, a lot of good things we can learn from,” coach Boeheim said. “We’ve got some things we can definitely work on… but a lot of good things.”
It was a brilliant shooting night for the Cuse, who shot 37-68 (53.7%) and 13-26 (50.0%) from beyond the arc. Girard punctuated that with a perfect 5-5 night from three-point land.
“I’ve worked on my handle a lot; this offseason I’ve worked on it even a little bit more I think,” Girard said. “Just making sure that I have the ability to get around guys to get open shots.”
Villanova transfer Cole Swider didn’t have his best night from the floor in his first regular-season action with the Orange, but he was a certified madman on the boards. The 6’9” senior forward reeled in 12 rebounds, the only player on either side in double-digit boards, and still managed to claw his way to 14 points.
“I thought Lafayette was trying to take away me and Buddy’s threes, so I was just trying to take advantage of things,” Swider said. “I left a couple (shots) out there I probably could have made, but it’s all a learning process.”
Though there were fans present during the team’s two exhibition games, Syracuse played in front of 19,000 strong at the Dome tonight for the first time since March of 2020. Whether it was sophomore center Jesse Edwards’ two-hand tomahawk flush early in the second half or redshirt sophomore John Bol Ajak’s jumper from the baseline in garbage time, the home crowd never missed an opportunity to whip themselves into a frenzy.
“They energize me a lot, it gives me something to play for,” Girard said. “There’s nothing like the Carrier Dome being packed.”
All in all, it was a comprehensive beatdown for Syracuse, which left few in the locker room with any complaints about the team’s start to the 2021-22 season.
The Orange will continue a three-game homestand Sunday when the Drexel Dragons make the trip to the Dome from the City of Brotherly Love. That game will tip-off at 5 p.m.