If you watched Syracuse in the first six minutes of tonight’s game against Colgate, you probably had some déjà vu to last Wednesday. The Orange only put up 34 points against Virginia a week ago and struggled to score again at the beginning of tonight’s contest. SU couldn’t buy a bucket, starting 0-7 from the field. The Orange faithful powered through the pain and kept clapping, as is ritual in the Dome, until Syracuse scored its first field goal six minutes and seven seconds into the game.
But once the first one shot went it, they all started falling. Syracuse went on a 30-16 run in the final 14 minutes of the first half. From there it was smooth sailing for SU. The Orange finished with a final score of 70-54. The win is Syracuse’s first of the season and shed some light on some aspects of this team. Here are some of the major takeaways from Wednesday’s contest.
Joe Girard Deserves to Start
Jim Boeheim stayed with the same starting lineup against Colgate, which has Jalen Carey as the starting point guard. Carey only played 5 minutes in the first half, going 0-2 and turning the ball over twice. Joe Girard came off the bench to replace him in the first, then took his starting spot in the second half. The freshman finished with 19 minutes tallying 5 points and 4 assists. His energy off the bench sparked the Orange offense and brought the fans to their feet. Girard got the loudest ovation of the night when he was subbed out in the second half. It’s only his second collegiate game, but he is showing he can be a starter on this team. Carey is struggling, Girard is flourishing.
Girard should be and will be in the starting lineup in the next game. In the post-game press conference, Boeheim said that he will be starting Girard against Seattle on Saturday.
SU’s Big Man Problem Isn’t as Bad as Previously Thought
One of the biggest issues Syracuse had against Virginia was rebounding. UVA out boarded SU 47-28 and the true big men combined for only 8 points. It was a different story against Colgate, however. Bourama Sidibe was a real threat in the paint, snatching 14 rebounds and added 12 points.
“The difference was Bourama was active down low,” said Boeheim. “He finished around the basket and we looked for him better.”
He even threw down an alley-oop from Girard. That’s something SU fans wouldn’t mind seeing a couple more times this year.
Plus, Marek Dolezaj didn’t settle for outside shots. He took it to the basket, showing off some post moves and finishing on the inside. If those two can continue to perform like they did against Colgate and the subs can hold their own, the Orange will be solid down low and the fans won’t have to worry as much. The question now becomes, can they continue to do it?
Quincy Guerrier Doesn’t Look Too Good
Prior to the season, Quincy Guerrier was thought to be the best freshman on the roster. Some people even called him a one-and-done candidate, predicting him getting drafted after the season. He didn’t do anything against Virginia and barely contributed Wednesday versus Colgate. The forward looked frazzled and nervous to touch the ball. He was a step too slow on defense and timid on offense with the starters in. Guerrier even admitted after the game that he wasn’t going in hard for rebounds, saying he’s probably the strongest guy on the team and needs to use this strength. He stepped it up a little towards the end when the bench players finished off the trash minutes, but that’s not what is expected of him. Syracuse wants him to be a solid rotation player, contributing throughout the game. There is still plenty of time to get better, but it’s been a slow start for Guerrier.
Syracuse’s High Five Game is on Point
One of the most mesmerizing parts of this Syracuse team is the amount of times they high five and how accurate they are. No look, behind the back, eyes closed high fives. The Orange connected on all of them. It didn’t really impact the game, but Syracuse definitely dominated the high five category over Colgate.
The win over Colgate moves Syracuse to 1-1 on the season. It’s a good stepping stone for the Orange to build off of for the future. Next up, Syracuse hosts Seattle on Saturday.