Hakim Warrick had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Orange. No. 6 Syracuse (1-0) will play Princeton (1-0), which advanced to the second round earlier in the day.
"We executed really well," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "When you execute well and you hit the shots, that's how you get those starts. When you get off to a good start like that, it just makes it that much easier."
Gerry McNamara (11 points) hit two-straight 3-pointers and added a nifty driving layup and Warrick threw down two drunks and added another basket to lead Syracuse on its early surge.
Syracuse would hit nine of its first 10 shots and didn't give Northern Colorado a decent look until Northern Colorado finally scored its first points on a 3-pointer by Sean Nolen with 12:25 left in the first half.
"I've never seen a start like that," Warrick said. "Especially us – we've been starting slow a lot of games. To come out like that was good for us."
Josh Pace scored 13 points and Darryl Watkins added 12. Twelve Syracuse players ended up scoring. But Syracuse players were more excited about the defense it played.
"We're not worried about our offense," Pace said. "It's just the defensive end. Playing defense is going to determine our season."
The Orange looked sharp in every facet of the game from starter to walk-on. Syracuse played man-to-man defense through most of the game and occasionally switched to a zone.
The taller and more athletic Orange devastated Northern Colorado, which turned the ball over 18 times and shot just 26 percent from the field.
"Our defensive was very good," Boeheim said. "But we did make mistakes and they missed shots. It makes your defense look a little better sometimes than it is."
Sean Taibi finished with 16 points and seven rebounds for Northern Colorado.
The win was Syracuse's first in an opener in two years. Last year, the Orange lost to Charlotte in their opener.
"We're an ongoing work," Boeheim said. "People in sports in general get way too far ahead of themselves. We're in November. We're miles from where we need to go."
Notes & Quotes: Forward Terrence Roberts went up for a rebound with 10:51 left in the second half and came down awkwardly on his knee. He needed to be helped off the court, but did return to the bench later under his own power. … Xzavier Gaines, who earlier in the year quit the football team, played nine minutes. He played more than any other walk-on. …Boeheim on Princeton: "Princeton executes well – better than any team in the country. It will be a tremendous challenge for us on the defensive end of the court."
Orange score first 24 points, cruise to win
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