There are many places that one could start when talking about Syracuse’s first exhibition game of the 2015-16 season but the easiest place to begin is the end. Syracuse defeated Le Moyne College 97-58, completely dominating the Dolphins in the second half. After going into the locker room with a 44-34 lead, the Orange began the second half on a 21-0 run it took the Dolphins over seven minutes to register their first points after the break.
There were many things to watch for going into this game. Probably the two biggest topics of discussion before the game were the three freshmen making their Syracuse debuts and the return of big man DaJuan Coleman. Well, after the game, that is exactly what will be talked about the most.
All three freshmen were involved early and often for Boeheim but none had a bigger impact than Malachi Richardson. He stood out on both ends of the court throughout the game. He showed his quickness, ball handling ability and his knack for stepping back and hitting a big shot.
“I was a little nervous [before the game],” Richardson said. “I thought I played pretty well. I will do everything I can to say on the court.”
Richardson finished the game with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. His performance was complemented by ten points from Frank Howard and six from Tyler Lydon. Jim Boeheim complimented the play of all three of the freshmen.
“They did a pretty good job,” Boeheim said. “There are some things that we can learn.”
While Richardson, Lydon and Howard made their debuts for the Orange, Monday marked the return of a man who has been at Syracuse for several years, DaJuan Coleman. Coleman played in his first game in nearly two years and put in a very strong performance, particularly in the second half.
“I was real happy [to get back onto the court],” Coleman said. “It was a long time coming and I was just real happy.”
Coleman finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds but his defensive presence can not be understated. He was the anchor of that 2-3 zone and played a key role in the Orange shutting down the Dolphins for much of the second half.
Michael Gbinije led all scorers with 21 points, going 7-13 from the field.
Overall, it was a pretty strong performance from the Orange as they got their season off on the right foot. Next up for Syracuse is Florida Southern on November 8th, at 2 P.M.