SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Syracuse was off to its worst conference start ever, going 0-4 to begin Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Orange freshman Malachi Richardson on Wednesday night did his part to make sure that the monkey on his team's back didn't become a gorilla.
Richardson scored 15 points and Syracuse seized control with a 21-2 run in the first half to defeat Boston College 62-40, helping the Orange avoid their first-ever 0-5 start in conference play.
''It feels good to win, it's been so long, to get the monkey off our back,'' Richardson said. ''We knew we needed this win, we need every win. It's important for us to keep building off this game.''
With a killer three-game road trip to Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia on the immediate horizon, the win was essential.
''We knew the schedule was tough, there's nothing we can do about it,'' Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. ''We just have to go play it. Every game is tough. Those are certainly going to be tough, too. We're not playing well enough now to accomplish what we want to get accomplished.''
Boeheim wasn't particularly impressed with his team's much-needed win.
''We made four or five bad turnovers that we can't make,'' said Boeheim, coaching his second game off his NCAA-imposed nine-game suspension. ''At this stage of the season we shouldn't be making those turnovers so there is plenty in this game to look at and work on.
''When we shoot 4 of 17 from the 3 we're going to be fortunate to win those games in those situations but when you haven't won it's always tough to get that (first) win. We've got a tremendous challenge facing us now, but we'll get ready for that starting tomorrow.''
Michael Gbinije had 14 and Dajuan Coleman added 11 points apiece for the Orange (11-7, 1-4). Tyler Roberson had his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, including 10 boards in the first half, in just 24 minutes due to foul trouble.
Eli Carter topped the Eagles (7-9, 0-3) with 13 points.
''You fight to get back in the game, get it to seven and then we gave up, I think, three straight layups,'' said Boston College coach Jim Christian. ''Obviously, we didn't make shots when we had them. I thought we played very tentative, especially on the perimeter. We're just not playing well. We haven't shot the ball well in a couple of games. Guys are trying, they're just in a funk right now.''
The teams played at a plodding pace. The game featured just two fast-break points and numerous shot clock violations. Syracuse and BC combined for 30 turnovers. The Eagles scored just eight points off 14 Syracuse miscues. The Orange dominated inside, outscoring BC 34-14 in the paint.
Boston College: Graduate student Eli Carter has scored in double figures in 14 of the 15 games he has played this season. ... Freshman Jerome Robinson had scored in double figures the past four games and 10 times this season. He scored just two Wednesday. He is the only other Eagle averaging double figures. (12.5 points per game). ... BC ranks 213th in the country in 3-point shooting at 33 percent. ... Freshman forward A.J. Turner roomed with Syracuse first-year forward Tyler Lydon at New Hampton Academy.
Syracuse: Richardson has averaged 19 points over his last three games and is shooting 55.5 percent from 3-point range in ACC play ... Gbinije rebounded from a 3 of 13, 0 of 6 from beyond the arc effort against North Carolina. ... Gbinije is averaging 37.82 minutes, second in the ACC and just ahead of teammate Trevor Cooney (37.42). Gbinije (40) and Cooney (31) rank 1-2 in the ACC in steals. ... In the last four games, Gbinije is 22 of 66 from the floor and 6 of 34 on 3-pointers. . Gbinije has scored in double digits in all 18 games.
Boston College is at Pitt Saturday.
Syracuse visits Wake Forest Saturday.