Syracuse Basketball: Top observations as ‘Cuse beats Canisius at home

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

Four Syracuse basketball players reached double-figures in scoring, as the Orange moved to 2-0 so far in this young 2023-24 season by defeating Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (“MAAC”) school Canisius from Buffalo, N.Y., by a final count of 89-77 on Wednesday night at the JMA Wireless Dome.

The ‘Cuse, under first-year head coach Adrian Autry, was again without junior forward Benny Williams, who remains suspended from the program. The Orange held a 41-32 lead at the half.

The Golden Griffins (0-1), though, didn’t wither away. They cut the deficit in the second half to six points after two made 3-pointers. But then Syracuse basketball went on a 14-0 run to collect a 20-point advantage.

Canisius would get the margin back down to nine points at one point, but sophomore point guard Judah Mintz led the charge down the stretch, as the Orange took care of business in a 12-point triumph.

Here are my key observations as Syracuse basketball knocked off Canisius.

•Mintz really took over in the latter part of the second half, doing what he does best: driving to the basket and getting to the free-throw line. He poured in a career-high 26 points, including 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.

•Central New York native J.J. Starling, a sophomore guard who transferred to the ‘Cuse from Notre Dame, was pretty darn good against the Golden Griffins. He tallied 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

•With Williams unavailable, sophomore wing Justin Taylor was inserted into the starting line-up at small forward again. He was solid, producing 13 points and seven rebounds, while hitting two shots from deep.

•Sophomore forward Chris Bell chipped in 12 points and made two shots from downtown, although he only had two boards.

•Let’s talk about starting center Naheem McLeod, a junior transfer from Florida State, for a second. He collected seven points, nine rebounds, an impressive five blocks and a steal.

•Sophomore big man Maliq Brown also contributed six points, four boards, three steals, one assist and one block.

•From a team perspective, while Syracuse basketball has emerged victorious by double-digits in both of its regular-season games so far, the Orange’s defense has proven so-so. The ‘Cuse allowed 77 points to Canisius and 72 points to America East Conference member New Hampshire this past Monday evening on the Hill.

•Canisius connected on 48.4 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point land. The Golden Griffins only hit on 29.4 percent from the free-throw line, otherwise, this non-conference contest may have been closer.

•In notching this win, Syracuse basketball is now 47-24 in its all-time series with Canisius.

•The Orange made 53.8 percent of its attempts from the field as a whole, 36.8 percent from beyond the arc and a sub-par 63.2 percent from the charity stripe.

•In the rebounding arena, the ‘Cuse wasn’t great, as it was tied 37-37 with Canisius. More alarming was that the Golden Griffins corralled 16 offensive boards.

•In other team statistical categories, Syracuse basketball led 16-10 in assists, 7-5 in steals, 14-8 in fast-break points, 18-15 in points off of turnovers, and 52-42 in paint points.

•Canisius committed 12 turnovers, while the Orange committed 10 miscues. The Golden Griffins had a commanding edge in bench points, 35-14.

•Up next, Syracuse basketball will host Patriot League school Colgate on Tuesday, Nov. 14, with the tip-off scheduled for 7 pm and television coverage on the ACC Network. While the Orange is 127-47 against the Hamilton, N.Y.-based Raiders in their long all-time series together, Colgate has defeated the ‘Cuse on two straight occasions.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: 4-star Donnie Freeman is officially Orange – BOOM!. dark