- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone was way too much for Monmouth to handle.

The Orange (3-0) limited Monmouth (1-2) to 21 second-half points and broke open a tight game en route to a 71-50 rout Friday night.

The zone forced the Hawks to 31 percent shooting from the field and 14 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-29) for the game. They were 1 for 18 from the 3-point line in the second half.

Andrew White scored all of his 18 points in the first half and freshman forward Taurean Thompson added 12 for Syracuse. Tyus Battle had nine points, and Frank Howard chipped in with eight points and six assists for Syracuse. Tyler Lydon had four blocks.

Justin Robinson led the Hawks with 11 points, and Collin Stewart had eight.

“I thought our defense in the second half was really good,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “They (Monmouth) got some looks that they missed but our defense was pretty good, we pushed them off spots and made them take tough shots.”

White said the Hawks played into Syracuse’s hands in the second half.

“The zone really forces you to take deep 3s,” said White, a fifth-year transfer playing zone for the first time. “They took the bait and took some really deep shots. If you can make a 25-footer you deserve everything you get but they played into our hands and we did a good job keeping the ball out of the post. It was a pretty good defensive night.”

Point guard Frank Howard thought Syracuse’s effort on the defensive end was the best of the young season.

“I’m not saying they’re not a great team but I think the zone made them work harder than they normally do. We just played good defense today, and it was definitely the zone. We stepped it up a notch when it came to that.”

“Anytime you can hold a team to 21 points and with the way they usually shoot it’s a great confidence builder for this team,” Lydon said.

The Orange led 37-29 at the half, but established control by going on a 17-6 run, led by Howard’s six points.

“They’ve had great teams for a long, long time,” said Monmouth coach King Rice, a Binghamton, NY native who grew up watching Syracuse in the Carrier Dome and labelled Friday’s experience as his “biggest thrill” as a coach. “This one right here has potential to be one of their best ones, but right at this moment it’s still early.”

BIG PICTURE

Monmouth: The Hawks followed up a heartbreaking loss at South Carolina with a poor performance Friday but should be able to right the ship against Cornell.

Syracuse: This was the biggest test for the Orange so far and Syracuse passed with flying colors.

MISSING AT THE START:

MAAC Rookie of the Year Micah Seaborn found a seat at the start of the game but entered at 16:22 of the first half.

THE KING RETURNS: Monmouth coach King Rice, a native of Binghamton, NY, was a highly coveted SU recruit but opted for North Carolina. When Monmouth played SU in Syracuse Dec. 8, 2012, Rice was suspended for one game for his criticism of game officials so this was his first time coaching in the Carrier Dome.

A SYRACUSE CONNECTION: Monmouth assistant coach Rick Callahan was an assistant under Jim Boeheim.

REMEMBERING THE PEARL:

Syracuse University is honoring the legacy of Dwayne “Pearl” Washington by establishing the Pearl Washington Endowed Fund for Continuing Education. The school has set a goal to raise $1 million to endow the fund.

TIP INS:

Monmouth: Chris Brady has played in every game since he arrived on the Monmouth campus. Friday’s matchup was his 104th..Brady was averaging 15.5 points a game but scored just four on 2-of-6 shooting. .Justin Robinson was just 4-of-16 and 1-of-10 from the 3.Micah Seaborn was 3-of-13.For the first time in program history the Hawks received preseason votes in the Top 25. The Hawks returned 88.7 percent of its scoring from a year ago.

Syracuse: Tyler Lydon, who appeared to be out of slump in Syracuse’s last game against Holy Cross, reverted to his early-season shooting woes. He was just 2-of-9. But he had seven rebounds and four blocks.DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson had several good-looking outside shots.

BIG PICTURE

Monmouth: The Hawks followed up a heartbreaking loss at South Carolina with a poor performance Friday but should be able to right the ship against Cornell.

Syracuse: This was the biggest test for the Orange so far and Syracuse passed with flying colors.

UP NEXT

Monmouth returns home to face Cornell on Tuesday night.

Syracuse continues its homestand Tuesday night against South Carolina State.

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25


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