Published on November 6, 2018 at 9:18 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ As Jalen Carey started a crossover at the top of the key late in the first half, Eastern Washington’s Tyler Kidd picked the ball away and took off on a fast break.But Marek Dolezaj sprinted back under the basket and swatted Kidd’s shot out of bounds. Even when Syracuse had down moments in Tuesday’s season-opener, they didn’t matter. EWU had no responses.No. 16 Syracuse (1-0) had no trouble with the Eagles (0-1) on the opening night of college basketball, winning 66-34 in the Carrier Dome. EWU turned the ball over as many times as it scored points in the first half (10), and after the Eagles took a 3-2 lead, Syracuse never trailed the rest of the way. The 34 points that EWU scored were the fewest Syracuse has allowed to an opponent in the Carrier Dome. The Orange struggled in some facets, but behind 20 points from Oshae Brissett and rigid defense, SU was in control almost the whole game.“Our defense is really what won us the game,” Brissett said. “… We’re happy the guys we had in were able to contribute on the defensive end and help us go out and break that record.”After Eastern Washington took its only lead of the game, Brissett answered. He drove left from the right wing and attacked the rim, finishing a two-handed slam through contact for an and-1.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt was that sort of night for the Orange. They got what they wanted. Throwing the ball into the defensive-minded Paschal Chukwu in the post resulted in an Eagles’ defender on the ground and an easy finish for the 7-foot-2 center. A swing pass to an open Dolezaj at the top of the key ended in a swished 3, even though Dolezaj made just two shots from beyond the arc last season.At the other end of the floor, things went even better for Syracuse. The Eagles air-balled three 3s in the first half, including two by Austin Fadal, resulting in louder and louder “air-ball” chants from the SU student section. The Orange ran a full-court press until the game got out of hand, forcing turnovers and converting them into easy baskets. Syracuse finished with 33 points off of turnovers.Two of those came off a Brissett steal at the top of the press. He got a hand on the ball and tracked it down near the free-throw line. From there, it was a few steps and a two-handed flush for the sophomore forward. He stared into the crowd for a second after the finish, taking in the volume increase his dunk provided.“Steals get everybody amped up, gets the crowd amped up,” Brissett said. “When we have the crowd behind us, that extra fuel, it gets us going.”Midway through the first half Syracuse went small, playing Dolezaj at center, and he showed the variety he provides from Chukwu or Bourama Sidibe. An EWU player had space driving along the baseline off a ball rotation. But Dolezaj stepped outside of the lane and slid his feet in front while avoiding fouling. As the Eagles’ dribbler tried to stop, he lost control of the ball out of bounds.Even along the sidelines, defensive plays couldn’t end poorly for SU. At one point, Dolezaj dove toward the scorers’ table to save a loose ball, eventually hitting it off an EWU player to win possession, yet another turnover. But he crashed into the table, and for a moment, the Dome was quiet. He got up and jogged away, though. Jim Boeheim put both hands to his head, turned toward his bench, and jokingly grimaced.The second half didn’t provide much by way of suspense. The SU faithful had to wait for Buddy Boeheim to get his first career bucket, with him missing his first six shots before finishing through a foul on the right block after a full-court press-generated one of SU’s 10 steals, which Brissett dished to the freshman.The Orange’s defense made sure an at-times subpar offense didn’t matter. SU struggled from beyond the 3-point line, finishing 3-for-17. Buddy and Battle combined for 4-for-21 shooting from the field.“Buddy is probably up there with the best shooters in the country,” Brissett said, “and he was off today.”Midway through the second half, freshman Robert Braswell tried a lob to Bourama Sidibe. But instead of picking out his center, he instead almost made a basket, with the pass deflecting off the rim for a turnover, one of 10 Syracuse giveaways on the night.Tyus Battle struggled to make shots, missing multiple pull-up jumpers, and finished 3-for-10 from the floor. After the game, Battle stayed on the Carrier Dome floor shooting as the rest of the Dome began its changeover process for Friday’s SU football game.“We just didn’t shoot the ball well,” Boeheim said. “That’s gonna happen.”With about 14 and a half minutes remaining in the game, Battle drove past his initial defender but was called for charging on the back end, ramming into a help defender to negate the basket he finished.But even then, in the midst of a negative moment, all was well for Syracuse. Brissett lined up to guard the inbounder in SU’s effective full-court press. He looked at the television camera along the baseline. And he put up a two-finger peace sign.In the coming days, Syracuse will have issues to solve on offense. But in that moment, with 14:28 left to play on opening night and the SU defense in control, Brissett wasn’t worried.
Syracuse overcomes poor shooting in 66-34 win against Eastern Washington