Syracuse Rolls in Exhibition Opener
Alright—here it is. Our first look at the 2017-18 Syracuse Orange was a 30 point (84-54) exhibition blow out of the Division II Southern New Hampshire University Penmen. The Orange starting-five included junior point guard Frank Howard, sophomore shooting guard Tyus Battle, red-shirt freshman small forward Matthew Moyer, freshman power forward Oshae Brissett, and junior center Paschal Chukwu. Freshman Howard Washington, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe saw minutes off the bench. South Florida transfer Geno Thorpe did not see the floor as he is still nursing a sprained ankle he suffered in practice two weeks ago. The walk-ons took over as the clock expired, but expect Syracuse to get consistent production from a nine-man rotation that Boeheim may trim as needed throughout the season.
Following a rough start, in which they trailed 10-5 the Orange used a 22-0 run to end the first half to take control. The height and length on the interior of the 2-3 zone proved to be the difference as Chukwu and Sidibe recorded 6 blocks each and Dolejaz and Howard grabbed 5 and 3 steals, respectively.
The Orange used is defense to translate to offense as they got out in transition to pull away from the Penmen. Offensively, Tyus Battle dropped a game high 20 points and added 5 assists to lead the Orange. Syracuse will rely heavily on its lone returning starter from last year’s team.
Oshae Brissett impressed the crowd scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in his first time in the home white and orange. His length and versatility will be key to the Orange’s success this season and he will need to be productive immediately.
Frank Howard, Howard Washington, and Bourama Sidibe scored 15, 11, and 10 respectively to round out the Orange scoring threat.
Frank Howard and Howard Washington will share the point guard duties this season. Frank Howard’s 1:3 assist to turnover ratio against a DII opponent in Southern New Hampshire is disappointing and is something that he needs to improve if the Orange want to have any chance of being relevant this season.
WHAT WE LEARNED: Boeheim will rely on his freshman to support Battle and Howard this season, at least until Geno Thorpe returns from injury.
PLAYER TO WATCH: It would be easy to name Tyus Battle the player of the game for the Orange, as he will probably be in most games, but since it was only an exhibition game, I’ll give my player to watch instead. Although we as Orange fans have learned to be wary of freshman big men (RIP Fab Melo), the 10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, and only 2 fouls were a pleasant surprise from freshman Bourama Sidibe. If he can continue this production against DI talent, he would provide some much needed front court depth for the Orange.