Syracuse, N.Y. - Syracuse connected on 14-of-30 three pointers in blowing out in-state foe Colgate 78-51 Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. This was the first victory for the Orange (7-2) since winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament Nov. 27.
Michael Gbinije stuffed the stat sheet scoring a game-high 17 points, dissing out a game-high six assists, grabbed four boards, finished with three steals and was one of three Orange players to hit four shots from deep. Malachi Richardson (17 points) and Trevor Cooney (14 points) also finished with four three pointers.
Interim head coach Mike Hopkins had nothing but positive things to say about the effor of Gbinije.
"He has to be a player of the year candidate, not just in the ACC, but in the country," he said. "To have that kid, it makes you a lot more confident and comfortable as a coach."
The victory was the first for Hopkins after dropping his first game to Georgetown, filling in for the second game of Jim Boeheim's nine game suspension.
"I just want to get these guys better," Hopkins said. "This has never been about me. I'm happy that I get an opportunity to represent this great university and those kids."
The Orange trailed early, going down 7-3 just 2:12 into the game, but then Syracuse started heating up and went on a 24-4 run to put the game in check.During that stretch the Orange connected on five three pointers.
"When those start falling, the game gets to be more fun," Gbinije said. "They started falling so we just kept shooting."
The Colgate Raiders (2-6) did attempt a comeback at the end of the first half and cut the lead to just 11, 33-22 at the break. But the three-point barage would start back right after the half with Gbinije getting a pass from Richardson on the left wing and drilled it from range, pushing the lead to 14. Colgate wouldn't get closer than 13 the rest of the way.
There was some great ball movement from the Orange, continually making the extra pass to find the open man. As a result, the Orange collected 20 assists on 25 field goals.
DaJuan Coleman had his most productive game of the season, finishing with 10 points including a monstorous slam in the closing minutes.
"At the end of the day, we are trying to get him better because there are teams we will face that he has to be in there," Hopkins said. "I thought DC did really good tonight."
The one area for concern was again in the middle, especially on the boards. Even with a significant height advantage, the Orange and Raiders collected the same number of rebounds. Syracuse really struggled to stop Colgate from crashing the offensive boards, as the Raiders grabbed 13 on the offensive glass.
For the second straight Saturday, the Orange will renew an old Big East rivalry. Syracuse will make the trip to Madison Square Garden to take on St. John's. Tip off is set for 12:00.