Syracuse Basketball: Many positive takeaways in SU’s crushing of Oakland

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

On Tuesday night in Central New York, the two longest-tenured active head coaches in Division I men’s hoops roamed the sidelines, when Syracuse basketball hosted Oakland.

The Orange, having recently snapped a three-game slide by sneaking by Notre Dame on the road this past Saturday afternoon, has now won two in a row, after the ‘Cuse dismantled the Golden Grizzlies, 95-66.

Everyone got into the party on Tuesday evening as Syracuse basketball (5-4) moved back above .500 in the young 2022-23 season.

In fact, head coach Jim Boeheim emptied his bench, putting in some walk-on players at the 4:44 mark (#OnBrand) with the Orange leading 93-51.

As I said numerous times on social media, I recognize that Horizon League member Oakland (2-9) isn’t a heavyweight squad. But regardless, the ‘Cuse did a lot of encouraging things in this non-conference encounter pitting Boeheim (47 years on the SU sidelines) versus Golden Grizzlies boss Greg Kampe (39th year at Oakland).

Syracuse basketball totally destroyed Oakland on the Hill.

The ‘Cuse roster was excellent, by and large, on both ends of the floor against Oakland. The Orange’s zone was active. Syracuse basketball collected 10 steals, forced 13 turnovers, and got out in transition often.

In the rebounding department, it wasn’t all that close, as Syracuse basketball held a 44-33 margin. The ‘Cuse defense forced the Golden Grizzlies into 37.5 percent shooting from the field and roughly 20 percent shooting from beyond the arc, as Syracuse basketball improved to 5-0 all-time versus Oakland.

On offense, I was delighted to see excellent ball movement from Orange players. Not as much iso ball and unnecessary dribbling. Guys were moving, cutting and being unselfish – hence 27 assists on 42 made baskets.

As a collective unit, Syracuse basketball hit on 58.3 percent from the field, a solid 40.0 percent from 3-point land, but a gross 42.9 percent from the charity stripe. The ‘Cuse also did commit 13 turnovers of its own, and the squad has to clean that up.

The box scores looked mighty impressive for multiple Syracuse basketball players. Senior center Jesse Edwards tallied 18 points on 9-of-9 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds.

Senior guard Joe Girard III produced 18 points and six assists. He connected on 7-of-10 from the field and 4-of-7 from deep.

Freshman forward Maliq Brown chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Symir Torrence was stellar, finishing with 12 points and five dimes.

Freshman point guard Judah Mintz generated 10 points and five assists. Sophomore forward Benny Williams also had a nice output, delivering nine points, six boards and six assists.

Last but certainly not least, redshirt junior forward John Bol Ajak played just eight minutes, but he boasted two points, six rebounds, three assists (!) and one steal. Love this young man’s energy, hustle and passing ability in the paint.

Up next for Syracuse basketball is a bruiser at the JMA Wireless Dome between the Orange and former long-time Big East Conference rival Georgetown.

That enticing encounter will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, beginning at 1 pm, with television coverage on ABC.

Syracuse Basketball: Melo 4-star son, priority 4-star target fall to top teams. dark. Next