Iona vs Syracuse Preview

Iona vs Syracuse

Syracuse opened its season in excellent form defensively and will aim to suffocate another opponent Tuesday when Iona comes to town. The new-look Orange trounced Cornell 77-45 on Friday thanks to a strong defensive effort out of coach Jim Boeheim’s vintage 2-3 zone.

The Orange held Cornell to 25 percent shooting from the floor and 14.8 percent from 3-point range as they shot 4-for-27 from behind the arc. The Orange forced 15 turnovers and held a 54-36 edge on the glass. Offensively, Syracuse finished at 41.4 percent from the field and watched newcomers Geno Thorpe and Oshae Brissett struggle in their Syracuse debuts. “Our offense sputtered, missing shots we should and will make,” Boeheim told reporters. “We rebounded the ball pretty well. The defense was solid. We still have a lot of work to do on offense.” Iona, which made the NCAA Tournament as a 14th seed last season, suffered a two-point loss to Albany in its 2017-18 opener.

The Gaels trailed by 11 at halftime against Albany before compiling a competitive second half, led by TK Edogi, who scored 13 of his 17 points after intermission. The senior forward also had nine rebounds, while Deyshonee Much chipped in 15 points for Iona. The Gaels, who open their season on a six-game road trip, are without their top three scorers from last year.

Iona, which does not have a player taller than 6-foot-9, was dominated 47-27 on the boards by Albany. The Gaels made just 4-of-22 three-pointers. That combination is a recipe for disaster for a three-guard lineup. It should be noted that was also probably an uncharacteristically bad shooting night for Iona, which has won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament the past two years and has been a consistent quality mid-major under head coach Tim Cluess, winning 20 games in eight consecutive seasons.

Oshae Brissett, the Syracuse’s top freshman, was 3-of-13 from the floor but finished with a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds) versus Cornell. Fellow freshman Matthew Moyer grabbed 10 boards, as well, while Thorpe – a graduate transfer – shot 4-of-13 in 19 minutes off the bench. Tyus Battle, the team’s top returning player, was 6-of-14 en route to 18 points after averaging 11.3 points a season ago.

Prediction

Watching Iona up-close and personal while covering Canisius the last three seasons, I can comfortably say head coach Tim Cluess will have his guys ready to play. I would not expect another poor shooting performance like they had against Albany. That being said, the Orange are more talented and as long as they stay locked in defensively, they should be able to take home the victory.

Syracuse 71 Iona 65

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