SYRACUSE—We knew going into this game that this season’s St. Bonaventure Bonnies didn’t have the firepower that allowed them to go into the Carrier Dome and beat the Syracuse Orange a year ago.
However, this year’s trip to the Dome for the Bonnies may have been even more miserable than most expected.
This one was over from the start.
Syracuse (9-4) defeated St. Bonaventure (4-9), 81-47, in the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon. The Orange opened the game on a 17-2 run and never looked back.
Turnovers early in the game were the story for the Bonnies. They turned the ball over five times in the first four minutes of the game, leading to eight Syracuse points. The Bonnies would finish the game with a whopping 25 turnovers, 14 of which came in the first half.
“We didn’t have any answers,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “They’re so long and the windows to get the ball in close quickly. We tried to get the ball to the middle of the zone and it just wasn’t working for us.”
Syracuse guard Tyus Battle finished with a game-high 21 points, including 10 of the team’s first 13.
“We’ve been having good practices, and I think that showed today,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. “We didn’t shoot lights out of anything, but I thought we played a good overall game.”
Elijah Hughes added 16 points for the Orange, and Buddy Boeheim added 12 points. Despite the Orange scoring over 80 points for just the third time this season, Coach Boeheim said he was impressed by his team’s defensive effort.
“They didn’t have a real threat inside, which helped us,” Boeheim said. “We were able to get to their perimeter shooters and stay on them.”
The SBU offense was behind from the start as its leading scorer, senior Courtney Stockard, picked up his second foul before the under 16 media timeout.
Stockard, who had averaged 19 points per game coming into Saturday’s contest, finished with just two points and seven turnovers in 15 minutes.
Schmidt talked about the difficulty of playing against Syracuse’s zone defense, especially with many of his players seeing it for the first time.
“You can’t simulate their zone in practice,” Schmidt said. “For our young guys to see that for the first time in a game is tough.”
Bonnies freshman guard Kyle Lofton said the zone was unlike any he had played against before, and the Orange made it hard for him to operate the offense from the point guard position.
“A lot of spots would look open, so we’d try to force the ball,” Lofton said. “They’re long and athletic so it was hard.”
Lofton led the Bonnies in scoring with 12 points on the day.
Also for St. Bonaventure, Jalen Poyser scored 12 points and Melki Moreaux added seven points.
The Bonnies finished non-conference play with a disappointing four wins, and will begin Atlantic 10 competition on Jan. 5 at George Mason.