Elijah Hughes had 23 points and Joseph Girard III added 20 as Syracuse won its first home game in more than three weeks, beating Oakland 74-62 on Wednesday night in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Orange (6-5) won for just the second time in six games thanks to great ball distribution. Girard, a freshman point guard, had seven assists to pace an offense that assisted on 20 of 24 made field goals despite only shooting 41.4 percent as a team.
Hughes, a junior forward, was 9 of 19 from the field including 5 of 10 from three-point range. Syracuse hit 11 threes, seven in the first half, but attempted 35 from outside compared to 23 shots inside the arc.
Oakland (5-7) was frequently successful breaking Syracuse’s zone, outscoring the Orange 30-20 in the paint and getting to the line to make 20 of 24 free throws, but turnovers and poor perimeter shooting doomed the Golden Grizzles. They turned it over 16 times, leading to 15 Syracuse points, and made only 4 of 18 from 3-point range.
The Orange led by eight at halftime and built the edge to 51-39 with 16:06 left on a 3-pointer by Hughes. Oakland wouldn’t go away, though, using a 7-0 run to pull within 55-51 on a banked jumper by senior forward Xavier Hill-Mais with 11:23 to go.
Hill-Mais picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 49-second span and had to sit with 9:14 left, and Syracuse responded by scoring six straight points including a Hughes dunk in transition off a feed from Girard to make it 61-51 with 8:26 left.
Hill-Mais fouled out with 2:41 remaining after scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while senior center Brad Brechting led the Grizzlies with 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 8 of 8 from the line.
Syracuse went more than 3 1/2 minutes without scoring to start the game before Girard completed a four-point play after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt to go up 4-2 with 16:26 left. The Orange would never trail after that, building as much as an eight-point lead in the first half.
A personal 8-0 run by Hughes late in the opening half helped Syracuse build a 43-35 halftime lead.
The game pitted two of the three longest-tenured coaches in Division I. Jim Boeheim is in his 44th season at Syracuse while Oakland’s Greg Kampe is in his 36th season in charge of the Golden Grizzlies.
—Field Level Media