The game was over as soon as it started. Tyler Roberson won the tip to DaJuan Coleman, Malachi Richardson hit a quick jumper and the Orange cruised from there to a 96-54¬†victory over the Florida Southern Moccasins.
Jim Boeheim rolled out the same starting five as he did against Le Moyne last Monday. This meant that sophomore guard Kaleb Joseph was to come off the bench. And when he did, he shined.
In the first half, Joseph played seven minutes, going 4-4 from the field and 3-3 from downtown as he racked up 11 points. Possibly his finest moment of the game when he read a pass, stepped in, stole the ball and tore off down the court for an easy lay-in.
Joseph finished the game with 13¬†points, going 4-5¬†from the field in 15¬†minutes.
“He shot well; when you make shots, everything is easy,” Boeheim said. “He’s shooting the ball much better. He’s much stronger.”
Joseph has adapted really well to his new role off the bench. He averaged over 27 minutes per game last season but has only put in about 15 per game in the pre-season this year. Joseph said that he just wants to contribute to the team in any way he can.
“I enjoy any time I get the chance to get in the game,” Joseph said. “At the end of the day, I get to play basketball and I’m just grateful for that.”
As good as Joseph was in his new role as the sixth man, Malachi Richardson shone just as brightly in his role as a starter. He finished with 18 points on 6-8 shooting, going 4-6 from beyond the arc. Boeheim said after the game what everyone has already figured out about the freshman.
“He can shoot,” Boeheim said. “He’s ready to go.”
Richardson led all scorers on Sunday and he played well at both ends of the court. He finished with six rebounds, two assists and three steals.
“I think I shot the ball even better today [than on Monday],” Richardson said. “I didn’t have as many chances but I scored more.”
The team was buzzing with confidence on and off the court on Sunday. After the game both Richardson and Michael Gbinije dismissed the national rankings of the Orange and put hefty expectations on themselves.. Gbinije ranked the Orange in the top three in the ACC and that he believes the Orange will claw their way into the top 25. Though Richardson didn’t give specifics, he made it clear that he feels the Orange are underrated.
“We are going to surprise a lot of people,” Richardson said. “We have a really good team.”
Syracuse begins its quest to surprise the nation on Friday night against Lehigh.