MBB : Seeing red: Syracuse stays hot as Jonny Flynn leads the Orange past Cornell for its third-straight victory
Donte Greene had just one thing on his mind during the latter parts of Saturday night’s game against Cornell.
‘I miss my grandmother’s cooking,’ the freshman Greene said. ‘I’ll be home probably about four o’clock, and I’ll probably be in the kitchen from four until about five just eating leftovers and everything, so I can’t wait.’
Greene wasn’t the only one pining for home. Fellow freshman Jonny Flynn bolted before the media even made it to the Syracuse locker room after the game. But Flynn did help the Orange overcome an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from Greene with a game-high 21 points, and the Orange held on for an 80-64 win over Cornell before 19,253 fans at the Carrier Dome.
SU (9-3) leaves for Christmas break on a happy note, having won three straight games to tie its season-high.
‘He carried us through the whole game,’ Greene said of Flynn. ‘It can be different people on different nights. The last few nights, it was my night, and tonight was Jonny’s night.’
Flynn topped the 20-point mark for the third time since he set an SU record with 28 points in his collegiate debut, a win over Siena. The speedy point guard hit 9-of-14 shots, including 2-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc.
Greene managed just 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting, but center Arinze Onuaku compensated with an 18-point outburst, continuing his streak of stellar performances. Junior forward Kristoff Ongenaet also added nine points and 10 rebounds and Rick Jackson had six points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Orange appeared to wrap up Saturday’s game early when it went on a 17-5 run to open up a 40-20 advantage in the first half. Flynn torched Cornell (4-4) with eight points in that span, including a fast-break alley-oop dunk off Greene’s lob.
‘That’s me and Jonny’s chemistry,’ Greene said. ‘I heard him at half-court, ‘Just throw it up,’ so I had to just gather myself and just throw it off the backboard, and luckily he caught it.
‘(SU head coach Jim Boeheim) would have killed me if we would have missed that.’
Flynn also made sure to spread the wealth to his teammates, dishing out five assists. Three of them went to Onuaku for easy baskets down low, helping the 6-foot-9 center to yet another efficient night. Onuaku was 8-for-10 from the field and has now hit 30 of his last 33 shots, but he credited Flynn for finding him in the right places.
‘From when the season started, he’s been a great point guard,’ Onuaku said. ‘It always opens up the court when you have guards that can penetrate. You just have to slide into the open spots and they can get you open.’
Syracuse entered halftime with a 49-30 advantage, and many of the players’ minds left for home at that point.
The Orange scored just eight points in the first 9:30 of the second half, although the Big Red looked equally uninspired and failed to capitalize. Cornell finally made it interesting when it drained four 3-pointers in a row to slice the lead to 70-57 with 4:30 remaining.
‘I thought we just kind of ran out of gas a little bit in the second half,’ Boeheim said. ‘Guys haven’t been home in a long time, and I think they start thinking about that at halftime a little bit.’
It was too little, too late for Cornell, though. The Big Red entered the game ranked fifth in the nation shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range as a team but couldn’t get its long shots going until the late burst, ending the night 10-for-26 from beyond the arc and just 36.2 percent from the field.
Cornell outscored Syracuse, 34-31, after the intermission.
‘I think we were fortunate that they missed some open shots,’ Boeheim said. ‘It could have been a little bit closer for sure.’
But that was the last thing on the SU players’ minds after the game – or during the game, for that matter. Instead, they were thinking about home.
‘I probably was, I ain’t going to lie,’ Onuaku said with a sheepish grin.
Said Greene: ‘I think I left last night, so I had a bad game. I was just trying to suck it up.’
The Orange will return for practice on Dec. 27. Boeheim said he wished the break never arrived because his team has so much to work on before the Big East schedule begins on Jan. 2.
Said Boeheim: ‘We probably shouldn’t go home, but I don’t think we can get away with that.’
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
THEY'RE BACK: Syracuse pulls off furious comeback win against Yale to return to final four after longest absence since 1979
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Brian Megill sprinted over to Dominic Lamolinara and catapulted into his arms. The game was over. The unthinkable was no longer… Read more »