SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Le Moyne College, from just a few miles away, hung with the big boys in Syracuse for the first half.
The Orange made sure it didn’t end that way, turning a 10-point halftime lead into a 97-58 victory Monday night in the first exhibition basketball game at the Carrier Dome this season.
“I think we played pretty well,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Overall, I thought there was a lot of good things.”
New starting point guard Michael Gbinije got the offense going early, hitting two three pointers in the first six minutes, the second of which put the Orange ahead 12-7.
In the first half, the Orange connected on eight of 21 shots behind the arc.
“In the first half I think we probably took too many threes,” Boeheim said. “We were more selective in the second half and we were able to get inside easier. Opened things up for us.”
Gbinije would go on to hit five shots from downtown and finished with a game-high 21 points.
All three freshman for Syracuse, Malachi Richardson, Franklin Howard and Tyler Lydon contributed in big ways. Richardson finished with 13 points, 11 in the first half, and seven rebounds. Howard scored 10 points and Lydon grabbed six boards to go along with six points.
When he hit his first shot, a breakaway dunk, Richardson said it was a sense of relief.
“I was just glad to get an easy one early to get the jitters away,” he said. “I could just go out there and play after that.
“I think they all played pretty good,” Boeheim said. “Frank did good, Malachi good, Tyler did what he does. They all played good.”
Even though the Dolphins were able to hang with the Orange for the opening half, Syracuse turned on the jets to open the second half, going on a 21-2 run over the first eight minutes to put Le Moyne away.
What was the message at halftime from Boeheim?
“Nothing,” he said. “They just came out and played the way they should.”
Part of the reason for success in the second half was Syracuse got DaJuan Coleman more involved down low. After sitting out all of last season with a knee injury, the big man was held to just two first half points.
At one point as the second half got underway, Coleman scored four straight field goals, outscoring the Dolphins 8-0 by himself six minutes into the half.
“I think DaJuan looked good tonight,” Boeheim said. “It was good to see him back on the court after missing so much time. I was glad to see us get him going.”
Kaleb Joseph hit two three pointers in 27 seconds to push the lead to 31 with 13 minutes left to really put the game away.
Le Moyne, coached by Patrick Beilein, son of Michigan’s John Beilein, didn’t score until the 12:15 mark in the second half when the game was already out of reach.
The vaunted 2-3 zone did it’s part, keeping the Dolphins out of the lane. Le Moyne shot just 26 percent behind the arc and 36 percent from the floor.
Qwadere Lovell led the Dolphins with 16 points, 10 in the second half.
Leading by 34 with just under two minutes to play, Boeheim emptied the bench, giving as many players game action as possible in a blowout.
Syracuse will play its second and final exhibition game of the year Sunday at 2:00 vs Florida Southern. Le Moyne and head coach Patrick Beilein will travel to Ann Arbor to take on his dad at the Wolverines Friday night.