No. 19 Syracuse opens season at home against Colgate

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Two exhibition wins are in the books for No. 19 Syracuse. Now, the games count.

The Orange begin the new season on Friday night in the Carrier Dome against familiar upstate New York foe Colgate. This will be the 169th meeting between the teams, and the Raiders are looking for their first victory in the series since a 72-60 win at home in January 1962. Syracuse finished 2-22 that season under coach Marc Guley.

''I'm looking forward to it a lot,'' said Syracuse newcomer Andrew White, a transfer from Nebraska. ''Looking across the locker room, we've got a lot of guys that can help this team. We can make it something special if we do what we're supposed to do. It all starts Friday.''

Colgate has four starters and 13 letter-winners back from last year's team, which finished 13-17 overall and 9-9 in Patriot League play. The Raiders return 68.3 percent of their point production, led by juniors Jordan Swopshire and Tom Rivard, who averaged 10.6 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Swopshire shot 43.8 percent from beyond the arc and corralled a team-high 140 rebounds.

''The returning players are all a year older,'' said Colgate coach Matt Langel, who enters his sixth season. ''With that comes more appreciation for and understanding of the opportunities ahead. I have been impressed with the togetherness and competitive nature of the group.''

White led the Orange with 24 points in a 97-64 exhibition win over crosstown foe Le Moyne on Tuesday night. Freshman Tyus Battle added 17 points, two steals, two rebounds and two assists off the bench against the Division II Dolphins, while John Gillon, a transfer from Colorado State, had 14 points and Frank Howard 11. Tyler Lydon pulled down 10 rebounds, five offensive and five defensive.

Syracuse defeated Indiana (Pa.) University 83-65 last week in its first exhibition game. Battle led the Orange with 16 points and Lydon had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

''Overall, you want to get something out of these exhibition games,'' Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. ''I thought we got a lot out of it. We've had two really good games that I think will help us. You can learn from these games.''

Last season, Syracuse struggled while dealing with a nine-game suspension imposed on Boeheim for NCAA violations but turned it up in the postseason, advancing to the Final Four for the second time in four seasons. The Orange lost in the national semifinals to North Carolina, finishing the season 23-14 and 9-9 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Syracuse returns two starters, senior forward Tyler Roberson (8.8 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game) and redshirt senior center DaJuan Coleman (4.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Missing from the lineup are the top three scorers from last year, including a pair of NBA draft picks in Michael Gbinije (17.5 ppg) and Malachi Richardson (13.4). Trevor Cooney (12.9) also graduated.

''We lost three guys who could really shoot,'' Boeheim said. ''We were fortunate to get Andrew. I think we've got more than enough shooting.''

Boeheim opted to redshirt 6-foot-8, 220-pound freshman Matthew Moyer, who has the physical length to fit nicely into the Orange's trademark 2-3 zone defense. Moyer missed substantial time during the summer suffering from a toe injury and played nine minutes in the first exhibition game, missing his only shot and snaring two rebounds.

''He missed so much time. He got out of shape and he's still not in shape,'' Boeheim said. ''It would take him another month to get in shape, and by that time we're going to have four or five games. He wouldn't be ready to play. He'd waste all that time.''

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