Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and you’re still more trustworthy than Syracuse men’s basketball.
That’s the likely sentiment shared by the roughly 18,000 fans who booed SU off the floor inside the JMA Wireless Dome after a second beating at the hands of Colgate in as many games. SU went 54 tries without losing a game to Colgate between 1962 to 2021, but the Orange are now the ones playing from behind in the perennial series after a second straight whiplash-inducing upset loss to the Raiders.
Syracuse briefly led at the beginning of the contest 5-2, but fell behind 8-5 and never quite recovered as its game completely broke down. The Orange didn’t shoot well (38.7% from the field), were outrebounded 37-36, and looked completely disorganized on defense. At different points, Syracuse played its 2-3 zone, man-to-man, and briefly a 1-3-1 – but still couldn’t stem the tide of Colgate shooters. The Raiders brought the roof down from range with 19 makes from beyond the arc and took advantage of an SU defense that looked especially poor in transition. All too often, SU arrived late on breaks, stood like statues, and watched as Raider shooters ran circles around them.
On offense, freshman guard Judah Mintz led SU with 20 points on an 8-16 shooting night. Backcourt mate Joe Girard wasn’t nearly as efficient in a 4-15 night and often had more time than he took on quick-trigger three-point tries. Center Jesse Edwards was less involved in the offense than he was against Lehigh on November 7th and finished with just six points from the field. On a positive note, second-year forward Benny Williams set career highs in points (17), rebounds (8), and minutes played (38).
Perhaps more worrying in the near term were the lacking contributions from Syracuse’s other freshmen. On the night, SU got just seven points from its bench, and none of them came from its much-heralded Class of ‘22. Freshman forward Chris Bell started for the second straight game but missed his only shot attempt in eight minutes. Fellow wings Maliq Brown (two minutes, one rebound) and Justin Taylor (six minutes, 0-2 shooting) and guard Quadir Copeland (12 minutes, 0-1 shooting) were practically invisible while SU struggled on offense. The Orange looked limited, inexperienced, and unconfident on the offensive end, and got their scoring from three main names – Girard, Mintz, and Williams combined for 51 of the team’s 68 points.
On the other side, Colgate’s three-point shooters roared to life against the Orange for the second year in a row. Senior guard Tucker Richardson lit up the Dome with 27 points, including seven makes from deep.
SU is back in action Saturday against Northeastern with a chance to get back above .500. The Orange and Huskies tip off from the Dome at 4 PM.