Syracuse has become known for dominant performances in November, especially at the Carrier Dome. This year has been no different.
The 10th-ranked Orange look to continue their superb play at home Friday night when they face Columbia for the first time in nearly nine years.
Syracuse (5-0) is off to another strong start, winning by an average of 25.0 points while shooting 53.9 percent from the field and holding opponents to 36.8. The Orange lead the Big East in scoring at 89.0 points per game.
They opened last season by going 9-0 before getting upset at home by Cleveland State on Dec. 15.
The Orange are quite familiar with strong starts, winning 60 of their last 68 in November while posting a 41-3 mark at home, including victories in their last 11.
This season, Syracuse beat then-No. 13 California and then-No. 6 North Carolina by an average of 19.0 points to win the 2K Sports Classic in New York, going from unranked to the top 10 for the third-largest jump in the history of the AP poll.
The Orange survived a potential letdown Tuesday, beating Cornell 88-73 after leading by six at halftime. They used a 17-5 run to start the second half to pull away.
“This was a tough game to come back from New York and play this team,” coach Jim Boeheim said after his 804th victory tied him with Eddie Sutton for seventh all-time in Division I. “They’re going to be in the NCAA tournament.”
Boeheim has five players averaging double-digit points, with forward Wesley Johnson leading the way at 16.8 per game to go with 8.0 rebounds.
The junior made 5 of 10 shots for 15 points against the Big Red but found himself in a secondary role to guard Brandon Triche, who scored a season-high 21 on 8 for 13 shooting. The freshman, who is from neighboring Jamesville, N.Y., is averaging 12.2 points.
“I hit a few shots in a row, so I figured I was in a great rhythm,” Triche said.
Syracuse is 10-3 against the Lions (2-1) and has won the last five meetings since a loss in 1956. The teams haven’t met since the Orange won a third consecutive matchup at the Carrier Dome, 61-47 on Dec. 28, 2000.
Columbia is coming off a 73-59 victory over Bucknell, using a 30-8 game-ending run to cap a second consecutive win after losing its season opener at DePaul.
“We were exercising great poise out there,” guard Patrick Foley said. “We settled down and started getting our shots and we got a lot of second-chance points that really keyed that run.”
Sophomore guard Noruwa Agho leads the Lions with 20.0 points per game. He scored 23 against the Bison after having a career high-tying 24 in a 72-61 win over Longwood last Friday.
Columbia has dropped 10 in a row to ranked opposition.