Syracuse overwhelms upstate New York neighbor Colgate 78-51
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) There was a new coach on the sidelines for Syracuse but it was the same old result as the Orange rode a 21-3 run in the first half and coasted to a 78-51 win over upstate New York neighbor Colgate Tuesday night in Mike Hopkins' coaching debut at the Carrier Dome.
The win broke a modest two-game losing streak for the Orange, who fell out of this week's Top 25, and marked Syracuse's 50th consecutive victory over Colgate going back to 1962.
Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson led the Orange (7-2) with 17 points apiece while Trevor Cooney chipped in with 14.
Sophomore guard Sean O'Brien led Colgate with a career-high 16 for the Raiders (2-6). Jordan Swopshire contributed 10.
Gbinije, described as Syracuse's ''head of the snake'' by Colgate coach Matt Langel and ''our LeBron (James)'' by Richardson, shot 4 of 7 from 3 and 6 of 12 overall. The 6-foot-7 senior transfer from Duke, who leads the ACC and is seventh nationally with 2.88 steals a game, also had three steals and six assists.
''He's really improved as a player,'' Langel said. ''He's now becoming the player the country thought he would be when he was recruited. His time has arrived. He has great size. He's a very good athlete. He's making great decisions. You can't leave him open from NBA range. … He's really the head of their snake and a guy who can take over a game.''
''I thought Mike Gbinije stepped up and made some great plays today,'' Hopkins said. ''He moved the ball well and made some plays. He's arguably a Player of the Year candidate, not only in the ACC but in the country.
''Man, he's been our guy this year,'' said Richardson, a freshman whose 17 points represented a career high. ''We follow around him, he's like our LeBron. He's making everything happen for us.''
Gbinije said he ''felt good, tried to be aggressive and make the right plays out there.
''I've been pretty confident lately, reading and seeing things, the game has definitely slowed down for me. I'm just trying to use my instincts, not really thinking out there, just playing basketball.''
Hopkins, leading his alma mater while Jim Boeheim serves a nine-game NCAA suspension, downplayed his debut as coach in the Carrier Dome. Hopkins will take over permanently when Boeheim retires following the 2017-2018 season if everything goes as planned. Georgetown defeated the Orange 79-72 in his first game leading Syracuse.
''You know what, I just want to get these guys better; this has never been about me,'' Hopkins said. ''We won the game tonight and I'm happy for that but we need to get a lot better especially with what we're about to face.''
Hopkins said his job is basically to hold down the fort until Boeheim returns Jan. 9 against North Carolina.
''It's our job in these next seven games to give Coach Boeheim a better team or … it's not gonna be good,'' he said. ''You know it's like the father comes back and asks `What did you do? I gave you the keys to my Bentley and look what you did: You left the Doritos in the back and you didn't wash it!'''
Syracuse, which shot just 7 of 27 from 3-point range in last Saturday's loss at Georgetown, shot 8 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half en route to a 33-22 lead at intermission. Syracuse finished 14 of 30 on 3-point attempts. Gbinije, Cooney and Richardson had four each. The Raiders were 10 of 28 from 3.
Colgate led 8-6 when the Orange went on its spurt over a nine-minute period, led by nine points from freshman Tyler Lydon, who had 11 for the game.
Syracuse: Colgate and Syracuse have now met 168 times, the first in 1902. … The Orange was 14th after wins against ranked Texas A&M and UConn but fell out of the rankings after consecutive losses to Wisconsin and the Hoyas.
Colgate: The Raiders tied the bigger Orange on the boards at 32. … Colgate ranks 287th nationally in rebounds with an average of 34.1 boards per game.
Syracuse plays St. John's Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Colgate hosts New Hampshire Sunday.
- Colgate Raiders
- Jordan Swopshire
- Malachi Richardson
- Michael Gbinije
- Sean O'Brien
- Syracuse Orange
- Trevor Cooney