No. 19 Syracuse overpowers upstate New York foe Colgate
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wasn't happy about much Friday night even though his Orange thoroughly dominated Colgate 83-55 in the season opener for both teams.
''The press was so bad I wanted to keep trying it to see if it got any better,'' said Boeheim, now in his 41st year. ''If that's the extent we can do with the press you won't see it much.''
And there was more disappointment.
''We didn't do a very good job on the boards. With our size advantage we have to do a better job,'' he added, noting his team's slim 46-40 advantage.
But something did bring a smile to the face of the hard-to-please Boeheim - the play of guards Frank Howard and John Gillon.
Tyler Roberson scored 18 points, fifth-year transfers Andrew White and Gillon had 17 and 13 points apiece as No. 19 Syracuse overpowered Colgate.
Howard, a sophomore, added 11 points and a career-high nine assists for Syracuse, which shot 55 percent from the field. The Orange scored 44 points inside the paint, and had 23 fast break points, thoroughly dominating the Red Raiders at both ends of the court.
''Our guards played really well, exceptionally well,'' Boeheim said. ''Frank and Johnny played well.''
The two combined for 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 15 assists.
Howard shot 2-of-19 from beyond the arc in his freshman season and drew the ire of his coach whenever he hoisted a long-range shot. Friday, Howard was 3-of-3 on 3-pointers. Now, Boeheim is totally fine with Howard launching treys.
''He's worked hard. His shot's a lot better. He's stronger, more physical,'' Boeheim said. ''I'm good (with Howard shooting).''
Howard was pleased with Boeheim's new-found confidence.
''It feels real good. I made a few changes to my shot,'' Howard said. ''I was shooting with my palm last year but now I'm getting a higher release and my form's a lot better.''
Howard, though, still gets the most satisfaction from making creative passes, which are appreciated by his teammates.
''The guards did a great job of getting me the ball,'' Roberson said. ''It gives me a lot of energy. Frank really gets the ball to me in great position and finding me in open spots.''
Malcolm Regisford led Colgate with 10 points. Sean O'Brien had nine.
Colgate: Coach Matt Langel's squad was overmatched by the bigger, more athletic Orange so he really couldn't get a good handle on how his team will fare against Patriot League rivals. Needless to say he was extremely impressed by the Orange. ''They need to grow throughout the season but they have a lot of talent one through nine.''
Syracuse: Boeheim has tons of versatility and impressive talent inside and out. Boeheim, who's often criticized for not playing a deep rotation, has a luxury he's sure to employ throughout the season.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: Syracuse certainly didn't hurt itself with its dominating win. At this point of the season, the Orange will have to depend on the teams in front of them to lose in an upset or two.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Roberson was 9-for-13 from the field - all layups or dunks.
Colgate: The Red Raiders schedule features contests against 10 teams that made postseason tournaments a year ago.
Syracuse: Colgate is Syracuse's most familiar opponent. Friday's game marked the 169th time the two upstate New York schools have squared off. The series dates back to 1901-1902. Syracuse has now won 51 straight going back to 1962.
ROLE PLAYER: Gillon gives the Orange a dimension the team lacked last year - blazing speed.
LETDOWN: Orange freshman Tyus Battle led the team with a 16.5 points-per-game average in the team's two tune-up games but against Colgate the standout from New Jersey could only manage six points on 1-of-7 shooting.
SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Tyler Lydon, arguably Syracuse's best player, was 0-8 from 3-point range in the team's two exhibition games. His slump continued Friday as he was just 1-6 from the field, including 0-3 from beyond the arc.
Colgate takes on in-state rival Cornell next Wednesday in Ithaca.
Syracuse kicks off the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational against Holy Cross Tuesday at the Carrier Dome. The tournament concludes at Barclays Center in Brooklyn Thanksgiving weekend.