Syracuse offense shifts into new gear in win over Bucknell

Syracuse offense shifts into gear in Bucknell win

In addition to several player career-best performances, Syracuse men’s basketball nearly reach triple digits against Bisons.
Published: November 24, 2019
Elijah Hughes brings up the ball against Colgate on Nov. 13, 2019, in the Carrier Dome.
Elijah Hughes, shown here bringing the ball up the court against Colgate on Nov. 13, scored 21 points against Bucknell on Saturday.

Orange O rolls

The first half of the game marched to the beat of the same drum that’s been thumping along all season, as Elijah Hughes pounded the Bison defense and continued to show why he’s the centerpiece of Syracuse’s team. After winning the tipoff, it took less than half a minute for him to sink a three to get the first points of the game. He wasn’t done there.

Of the Orange’s first ten points, Hughes had a staggering eight. The typically sluggish Syracuse offense came out of the gates at a full sprint. Bourama Sidibe, the other contributor to those ten points, continued to be an aggressive attacker under the basket with an early dunk and a few free throws; however, as good as the Orange were, some of the blame falls on Bucknell.

The Bison missed many of their opportunities, and their efforts weren’t helped by Syracuse’s perpetually lockdown defense. Missing shots was a huge issue for Bucknell, and it proved to be an extreme contributor to the Orange’s success.

In the later part of the half, Sidibe traded some time with Guerrier once again. Hughes continued to be a force, but Joe Girard began to assert himself the same way he has for the past two games he started. He and Hughes have demonstrated time and again that they’re constantly ready to play on both sides of the ball. Girard had back-to-back threes to keep running the score up and continued to be a scrappy defender earning himself two steals and even a block towards the end of the half.

That kind of defense led the Orange to force 13 turnovers, with Marek Dolezaj and Girard notching two steals apiece. By the end of the half, it was clear who the Power 5 team was as the Orange led 51-26.

Boeheim Burns the Bison

Syracuse had no intention of taking their foot off the gas in the second half. They exited the locker room and went on an unanswered 12-point run. Buddy Boeheim scored back-to-back buckets from behind the arc in that stretch; an effort that gave the Bison a gut-wrenching 37-point deficit.

A total of nine different players scored for the Orange, as every member of the team teed off on their unsuspecting Patriot League opponents. Jim Boeheim stressed after the Colgate game that they would only be giving about seven players significant minutes, but in Saturday’s blowout, the bench had plenty of fun.

Though Sidibe is a clear starter on the team, the Orange demonstrated depth at the forward position, with Jesse Edwards having a career day. The freshman from the Netherlands posted a career-best 10 points.

As impressive as the whole team was, no one topped Buddy Boeheim, who finally pushed himself into another class of player. He scored a career-high 22 points, with six three-pointers. He’s been a long-range threat all season, but this game finally showed what he can do when he has ample support from the rest of the team.

Hughes also managed to score 21 points, and with Girard posting 12 of his own, just about everyone had an opportunity to feast at the veritable cornucopia of opportunities Bucknell’s defense provided (five days before Thanksgiving, no less). With the Orange giving up hardly any mistakes, they finished the game with a score of 97-51.

Moving Forward

While the Orange were impressive, Bucknell gave up a ton of turnovers and missed a lot of shots. They gave up 23 turnovers, and they shot an abysmal 15-57 from the field and 3-24 from beyond the arc. A lot of credit goes to Syracuse’s defense, but they shouldn’t expect lackadaisical errors from larger schools like Iowa, whom they face in just 10 days.

Syracuse’s next challenge comes in the form of Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.