Was it worth the wait? Syracuse opened Jim Boeheim’s 47th season on the hill in style, taking down Lehigh 90-72. The Orange shocked us all and came out in a man-to-man defense. How about that?
It is only one game, but there is plenty to dissect from this contest. With that, let’s dive into the report card from game numero uno.
Jesse Edwards: A+
The Flying Dutchman soared in his first game back from his season-ending wrist injury. Edwards notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds (he had two of them last season). Perhaps more encouraging than that was his 8-10 performance from the charity stripe. Edwards has to be more aggressive down low if SU is to have any sort of tournament success, and his free throw shooting will play a big role in that.
Judah Mintz: A
Mintz showed SU fans why he was such a highly-ranked recruit tonight. The three turnovers are a little concerning, but scoring 16 points in a collegiate debut is nothing to scoff at. The energy with which Mintz plays the game is palpable, and it carried over to the rest of the team. Jim Boeheim is somewhat notorious for not really playing freshmen, but after tonight, he has no choice but to stick with Mintz for the foreseeable future.
Symir Torrence: A+
The talk all preseason surrounding Torrence was about trying to improve his shooting and offensive prowess. He passed the first test. The Marquette transfer put up double figures for the first time in his collegiate career while knocking down a three. It’s hard not to be satisfied with that. Six rebounds and three assists too? What an opening night performance.
Joe Girard: B+
Similarly to last season, Girard came out firing in the opener. With 19 points on 4-6 shooting from range, he put the “3” in “JG3”. Girard doesn’t grade quite as high as his counterparts above for one reason. That reason is turnovers. Simply put, three is too many when you aren’t playing the role of the primary ballhandler next to Mintz. Still a very encouraging output from Girard.
Benny Williams: D-
Williams’ sophomore campaign didn’t exactly get off to the hottest start. The Maryland native scored just two points in 23 minutes of action. He also didn’t exactly look comfortable handling the ball, which led to a pair of turnovers. Not the 10-12 points and 5-6 rebounds Boeheim talked about before the season started.