(Updated: FIXES Paschal Chukwu spelling in first note)
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knows that nothing is going to come easy this season. That said, the Orange are 10-1 so far in non-conference play and have a chance to improve that mark Friday against visiting St. Bonaventure.
The Orange slipped past Buffalo 81-74 in their last game as freshman Oshae Brissett scored 25 points while Frank Howard delivered 18 points and Tyus Battle notched 13. “There’s not going to be any easy games,” Boeheim said in his postgame press conference. “We’re not going to overpower anyone. We’ve made good plays in every close game, which is most of them. We’re doing the little things you need to win.” Battle is the team’s top scorer at 20.7 points per game but is looking to rebound from his second-lowest scoring game of the season, plus he failed to make multiple 3-pointers for just the second time all season. St. Bonaventure defeated Maryland earlier this year, as did Syracuse, and enters having won six games in a row.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT ST. BONAVENTURE (9-2): Matt Mobley had 23 points in Wednesday’s 19-point win against Northeastern on Wednesday after scuffling to three points in a narrow win over Vermont four days earlier. Mobley (18.4 points) nearly shoots better from 3-point range (37.2 percent) than he does overall (38.2), and he had shot 8-of-26 in the three games leading up to the Northeastern contest. Jaylen Adams also has been terrific from behind the arc (11-of-23) and is 31-of-35 from the foul line this season for the Bonnies, who have not defeated the Orange since 1981.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (10-1): Battle, Brissett (15.6) and Howard (15.4) combine to average 51.7 points, and they also combine to average five steals per game. Brissett has reached the 20-point plateau in three straight games, although he has struggled with his shooting percentage in five of the last six games and makes only 35 percent of his shots overall - including under 30 percent from 3-point range. On the other hand, Howard has reached a level of consistency that he had not seen to this point in his Syracuse career, scoring 18, 19 and 18 points over the last three games, respectively, while making at least half his shots in all three outings.
1. Orange C Paschal Chukwu (34) has four blocks fewer than St. Bonaventure has as a team.
2. Howard was 3-for-4 from 3-point range against Buffalo after going 1-for-13 from long range in his previous three games.
3. Brissett went 16-for-16 from the foul line against Buffalo, setting a Carrier Dome record.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 66, St. Bonaventure 62