SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — If you root for the Orange, and there is a good chance you do if you are reading this, then you do not have much to complain about after Syracuse’s domination over Lafayette in the 97-63 opening night win.
And do not get me wrong, I know it was only Lafayette, but SU looked good.
The ‘Cuse poured in 97 points, the most in a season opener since they scored that same amount in their 2007 win over Siena. SU made 50% of their threes and 54% of their overall shots. They played good defense, holding the Leopards to 34% shooting and they won the rebound battle. All points of emphasis for Syracuse as they head into a season where fans in Central New York have high hopes.
This win just hit all the right notes and it began with the most famous last name in this area… Boeheim.
Jimmy, the oldest son of Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Jim Boeheim and the older brother of SU’s leading scorer Buddy Boeheim, made his debut in thrilling fashion. He tallied the team’s first 11 points while dropping 18 on the night. It matched his younger brother and was the most in a Syracuse-debut since that ‘07 game vs. Siena when Johnny Flynn scored 28.
Fans love that story, and they should, it writes itself, but it is not the best news of the night for Orange fans.
JG3 won the night.
The most scrutinized position in this town, other than SU Head Football Coach, is playing point guard for the men’s basketball team. More often than not, you are the most recognizable face on the roster. Luckily for Joe Girard III, he has not one but two Boeheims as teammates. So, some of that pressure falls off the shoulders of Glens Falls’ favorite son. But after the up-and-down start to his career, there was no one who needed a stellar game more than Girard.
And man did he deliver. JG3 scored a game-high 20 points and made all five of his three pointers, but that does not tell the whole story.
“He was good, even when he wasn’t scoring early. He was getting the ball to people in the right situations,” Jim Boeheim said.
“That’s the Joe I know. Just getting that fire under him, making plays, he was great tonight. I don’t think he could have played much better than what he did tonight,” Buddy Boeheim added.
At Glens Falls, Girard set high school gyms on fire. The man became a social media sensation by becoming New York State’s all-time leading scorer and averaging over 50 PPG during his junior season. Plus, let us not forget this magic to win a state championship.
But after averaging 12.4 PPG his freshman season, JG3 took a bit of a step back in 2020-21; only scoring 9.8 PPG. Now, that is not the main metric in judging a successful point guard, but it is a trait Girard brings to the table.
“(He) was primarily a scorer in high school and becoming a point guard – it’s been a journey. He’s learning some things. But he is really good. He is a really good point guard. And he gives you the added threat that he can make some shots,” Jim Boeheim said.
“I’m definitely thinking about it. I want to prove a lot of people wrong. But like I’ve said to a lot of people, it’s about proving it to myself. Just proving to myself that I am that guy to be able to play at this level and help this team win a lot of games. I have to be the leader of the team at point guard. I’m really looking forward to being confident again,” Girard said Tuesday night’s win.
Confidence seems to be flowing after the opener. And while the Boeheims will continue to be the most talked about storyline during every broadcast this season, the play of JG3 might very well determine the ceiling of this year’s team. Which could be exceedingly high if Girard plays anywhere close to as perfect as he did Tuesday night.