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Syracuse Men's Basketball Rounds Out WAER's Historic Day with In-State Foe Colgate

Buddy Boeheim (35, white) shots a 3-pointer in front of the Drexel bench in a 75-60 win over the Dragons on Sunday evening.
Cuse.com
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Buddy Boeheim (35, white) shots a 3-pointer in front of the Drexel bench in a 75-60 win over the Dragons on Sunday evening.

Syracuse men's basketball's non-conference schedule is tough, and the Orange are already starting to feel it. WAER’s Trey Redfield discusses SU’s next opponent - a team that made last year’s big dance - and which player Syracuse needs to stop.

If you take a simple glimpse at Syracuse men’s basketball’s schedule, you can tell it’s not an easy non-conference slate in 2021. Out of the eleven scheduled matchups against teams not in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Orange (2-0 overall) are set up against potentially seven teams that made last year’s NCAA Tournament.

One of those seven teams was Drexel, who Syracuse defeated, 75-60, in the Dome on Sunday night. Head coach Jim Boeheim says he’s aware how tough his team’s non-conference opponents are.

“They’re all good,” Boeheim said, after cooling the defending CAA Champion - and former 16th seeded - Dragons. “That’s how you get better.”

Syracuse did not have as big a grip it wanted against Drexel. The Dragons lead the Orange, 32-30 at halftime. Plus, ‘Cuse was outrebounded again; this time, by a margin of 30-26. There was plenty of praise for Zach Spiker’s squad after the game.

Syracuse forward Benny Williams (white, right) shoots a jumper over Drexel forward James Butler (yellow, left) in the Orange’s 75-60 win over Drexel on Sunday evening.
Cuse.com
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Syracuse forward Benny Williams (white, right) shoots a jumper over Drexel forward James Butler (yellow, left) in the Orange’s 75-60 win over Drexel on Sunday evening.

“They [Drexel] are even better than I thought,” Boeheim said. “Really well coached, move the ball well. First half, we gave them too many open looks.”

Someone who got those open looks was Drexel forward Mate Okros. The sophomore scored 16 points against Syracuse - one point shy of his career high.

But the non-conference slate gets steeper for Syracuse, as the season slowly rolls along, especially if you look at tournament teams in 2021.

Next up for the Orange is in-state rival Colgate (2-2 overall), the reigning Patriot League champion and a 14-seed in last year’s tournament.

After Sunday’s win, Boeheim called the Raiders “a really good team.” A big reason why? Nelly Cummings. Remember the name.

In 2021, Colgate returned to a non-conference schedule, after having a conference only schedule in 2020 (COVID-19). Right from the jump, Cummings has been on fire. In three games, the senior guard has averaged 16.8 points per game. Before the Raiders’ win over SUNY Poly on Thursday night, Cummings averaged a whopping 21.3 points per game.

A key reason why the numbers are so high for Cummings is his ability to hit from downtown. Despite going 1-5 from 3-point range against Cornell last game, the former Bowling Green Falcon began the season 10-13 from deep. Half of those 3-balls came against ACC foe NC State, in a 77-74 loss to the Wolfpack last Saturday.

Back when he was sophomore, Cummings got his first crack at the Orange. The Midland, Penn. native scored ten points in the Dome, when the ‘Gate fell to ‘Cuse, 70-54, back on November 13.

Despite Hamilton heating up thanks to Cummings, leading scorers have cooled down a little bit when they play Syracuse this season. Tyrone Perry and Cameron Wynter - the leaders scores for Lafayette and Drexel, respectively - both average around 15 points per game. Perry and Wynter were held to just 11 against the Orange.

That 16-point win for Syracuse back in 2019 was the last time Colgate faced off against the Orange. The two sides will face off for the 16th time on Saturday, in what is a 15-0 SU advantage.

Saturday is an action-packed day for WAER. It will be the first time 88.3 will broadcast three games in a single day.

It all starts with Syracuse Women’s Basketball and 23rd-ranked South Florida at 2:30, in the first ever Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis, with Countdown to Tipoff starting at 2 on 88.3.

Syracuse Football is second in line, as it takes on NC State at 4 on Channel HD3, which can be found at WAER.org. Countdown to Kickoff gets started at 3:45 in Raleigh, NC.

Finally, Syracuse Men’s Basketball takes on Colgate at 5 on 88.3. Countdown to Tipoff gets the ball rolling at 4:30.