Orange defense smothers Cornell in season opener
SYRACUSE (AP) — It was a great night for the Boeheim clan.
Coach Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange overwhelmed Cornell 77-45 Friday night in the season opener for both teams and son Jimmy Boeheim scored 11 points in his collegiate debut for the opposing Big Red.
“The first few minutes I was a little nervous going up and down but after the first few possessions I felt like it was like any other game,” the young Boeheim said.
Tyus Battle scored 18 points, and Syracuse’s hounding defense held Cornell to 25 percent from the field and 4-of-27 from beyond the arc.
Geno Thorpe had 12 points, Oshae Brissett had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Matthew Moyer 10 rebounds and Bourama Sidibe chipped in with seven points and six rebounds for Syracuse. Matt Morgan led the Big Red with 14 points. It was the 38th straight win for Syracuse in the series between the Upstate New York schools.
Syracuse had a 33-22 lead at the half and, led by Battle’s 10 points, went on a 19-4 run after the break to take control. The Orange outscored Cornell 44-23 in the second half.
Jimmy Boeheim hit Cornell’s first two shots of the game - a 3-pointer and driving layup - to give the Big Red a 5-2 lead but Cornell missed its next 11 shots and went more than 10 minutes between field goals. The Orange went on a 14-1 run to take a 16-6 lead. “I just looked at him once or twice,” the young Boeheim said. “I’ve never heard him yell from that close. That was a little weird.”
The elder Boeheim said he wasn’t caught up in the moment
“I’m not playing so it doesn’t matter what my emotions are. You’re hoping your son plays well. I thought he did a really good job of getting by and putting the ball on the floor,” Boeheim said. “It’s hard to do that against our zone. I think Jimmy’s going to be real good. He just needs some time.”
Boeheim said the game was a 50-50 proposition — good defense and not-so-good on the other end. Syracuse shot just 41 percent for the game.
“Our offense sputtered, missing shots we should and will make. We rebounded the ball pretty well. The defense was solid. We still have a lot of work to do on offense.”
Battle said the offense would come around — in time.
“We’re moving the ball well, moving around well. We just felt connected together. As the year goes on we’ll get to know where our players like the ball.”
“We played pretty good defense and then, I think it was 24-18 or something like that, we missed a 3 and they hit a 3. It’s hard to weather a storm with your defense when you’re not making any shots. I don’t know who you beat shooting 4-of-27 from the 3, but their zone has a lot to do with that,” said Cornell coach Brian Earl.
Although he led Cornell in scoring with 14 points, Matt Morgan shot just 3-of-9 from the field and 2-of-7 from the 3.
Cornell plays its home opener Monday against Binghamton.
Syracuse has an early-season home test Tuesday night against the Iona Gaels in a game could be an indicator of things to come for the young Orange.