Syracuse Basketball: Orange, yet again, crushed by Colgate on perimeter

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

If I were a betting man, I would have bet that Colgate wouldn’t eclipse the 18 shots that it made from deep last season against Syracuse basketball when the Raiders and the Orange met again on Tuesday night at the JMA Wireless Dome.

And if I made that bet, I would have lost. Because Colgate, a veteran, well-coached Patriot League team that snapped its 54-game losing streak to the ‘Cuse a year ago in stunning fashion, one-upped what it did to Syracuse basketball in the 2021-22 term.

I didn’t think it was possible, but these days, anything is possible in college basketball. On Tuesday evening, inside the Dome and with a ‘Cuse crowd awfully quiet and perhaps in a lot of disbelief, the Raiders hit a whopping 19 3-pointers.

Colgate players were crisp in their passing and fluid in their ball movement. They knew exactly where to go with the ball to find wide-open shooters, and it didn’t matter if the Orange was showing a zone or man-to-man defense.

A really good Colgate group absolutely torched Syracuse basketball.

The Raiders, unfortunately, put on a clinic against the ‘Cuse. And for the Orange, in game two of its 2022-23 term, its relatively young roster showed its youth.

These Central New York neighbors have been playing one another for a long, long time. And 54 times in a row, Syracuse basketball won. But that is over and done with; Colgate followed up a 100-85 victory a year ago by handling the ‘Cuse with relative ease on Tuesday, 80-68.

Not only did the Raiders (3-1) make 19 3-pointers versus Syracuse basketball, but they did so in a highly efficient way. Colgate shot 50 percent from 3-point land.

I don’t care how much more athleticism or “talent” the Orange roster may have in comparison to the Raiders, a squad that, yes, competes in the Patriot League, not the Atlantic Coast Conference.

None of that, frankly, matters. Colgate came to the Dome on Tuesday and was not, at all, fazed by having to play Syracuse basketball on the road.

The Raiders beat them in 2021-22, and now that’s two in a row for Colgate over the ‘Cuse. In their all-time series together, the Orange does remain well ahead of the Raiders, 127-47.

It wasn’t just 3-point shooting, though, where Colgate proved better on Tuesday. The Raiders won the battle on the boards in this non-conference affair. Colgate owned a 22-9 advantage in assists.

I’m not making any excuses for Syracuse basketball, because the ‘Cuse did not play well versus the Raiders. But Colgate has been to the past two NCAA Tournaments, giving a scare to Arkansas in 2021 and Wisconsin this past spring.

With the transfer-portal explosion and college players leaving early for the pro ranks, mid-major teams often have more experienced rosters than their high-major counterparts.

Again, this is not an excuse. It’s context. The disparity in “talent” between teams like Colgate and squads like the Orange isn’t as great as it once was.

On Tuesday, the Raiders showed that they’re a disciplined, veteran group. Syracuse basketball (1-1), meanwhile, has eight underclassmen among its 12 scholarship players.

The ‘Cuse clearly has a lot of work to do, but this is also only the second game of the 2022-23 season. What frustrated me, among other things, is that head coach Jim Boeheim played 10 guys, but the bench combined for just seven points.

Freshman point guard Judah Mintz led the way with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Sophomore forward Benny Williams tallied 17 points and eight rebounds.

Up next for Syracuse basketball is a home date with Colonial Athletic Association team Northeastern this Saturday, Nov. 19, beginning at 4 pm. The ACC Network Extra will provide live-streaming coverage.

Syracuse Basketball: No 2023 commits ‘surprising to say the least’ – expert. dark. Next