SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Jimmy Boeheim made a splash in his Syracuse debut, teaming with his younger brother and the rest of their father’s Orange squad for a 97–63 victory over Lafayette in a season opener Tuesday night.
Jimmy and younger brother Buddy finished with 18 points each with Joe Girard leading Syracuse with 20 after making all five of his 3-point attempts. Cole Swider, a transfer from Villanova, debuted with a double-double with 12 rebounds to go with 14 points.
Jimmy transferred to the program his father, Jim, has headed for 46 seasons, from Cornell, which had its last season along with the rest of the Ivy League canceled because of COVID-19.
Jimmy had four baskets for Syracuse’s first eight points before Buddy, in his 90th game with the Orange and their leading scorer last season, added a 3-pointer for an 11–4 lead. Midway through the first half Syracuse led 25–4 with the Boeheims combining for 19 points.
They had teamed for 28 points by halftime when Syracuse led 52–30.
The Orange shot over 50 percent in each half and finished at 50 percent from the arc (13 of 26) while Jim Boeheim’s legendary 2-3 defense held the Leopards, who had four of five starters returning, to 34 percent, though they made 12 3-pointers.
Kyle Jenkins and Leo O’Boyle had 14 points each for Lafayette.
It was the ninth meeting between the teams and first since the mid-1990s, and the Orange have won them all.
Lafayette: The Leopards went 9–6 last season, playing only against Patriot League foes because of the coronavirus. That was good enough for first place in the Central Division, but the Leopards lost nearly half of their scoring from last year.
Syracuse: The Orange received a handful of votes in the AP Preseason poll, but they won’t be tested until later this month at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The field includes Arizona State, Auburn, Loyola Chicago, Michigan State, VCU, Connecticut, Virginia Commonwealth, and Baylor.
Lafayette hosts Cornell on Friday night but will play five of its first six contests away from the friendly confines of Kirby Sports Center. Three of the five road opponents are Power Five foes and also include No. 9 Duke and Rutgers.
Syracuse hosts Drexel on Sunday evening.