Syracuse opened its season in excellent form defensively and will aim to suffocate another opponent Tuesday when Iona comes to town. The new-look Orange trounced Cornell 77-45 on Friday thanks to a strong defensive effort out of coach Jim Boeheim’s vintage 2-3 zone.
Syracuse limited Cornell to 25 percent shooting from the field and 4-of-27 from behind the arc while forcing 15 turnovers and holding a 54-36 edge on the glass. Offensively, the Orange finished at 41.4 percent from the field and watched newcomers Geno Thorpe and Oshae Brissett struggle in their Syracuse debuts. “Our offense sputtered, missing shots we should and will make,” Boeheim told reporters. “We rebounded the ball pretty well. The defense was solid. We still have a lot of work to do on offense.” Iona, which made the NCAA Tournament as a 14th seed last season, suffered a two-point loss to Albany in its 2017-18 opener.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT IONA (0-1): The Gaels trailed by 11 at halftime against Albany before compiling a competitive second half, led by TK Edogi, who scored 13 of his 17 points after intermission. The senior forward also had nine rebounds, while Deyshonee Much chipped in 15 points for Iona. The Gaels, who open their season on a six-game road trip, are without their top three scorers from last year.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (1-0): Brissett, the team’s top freshman, was 3-of-13 from the floor but finished with a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds) versus Cornell. Fellow freshman Matthew Moyer grabbed 10 boards, as well, while Thorpe - a graduate transfer - shot 4-of-13 in 19 minutes off the bench. Tyus Battle, the team’s top returning player, was 6-of-14 en route to 18 points after averaging 11.3 points a season ago.
1. Syracuse freshman F Bourama Sidibe is looking to build off a solid debut in which he notched seven points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 19 minutes.
2. The Orange have made 300-plus 3-pointers in each of the last two seasons - the first two such seasons in school history.
3. Syracuse gave up 71.1 points per game last season - the highest mark for the team since 2008-09.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 70, Iona 68