By BRIAN GORDON
The No. 8 Syracuse Orange (1-0) defeated the Cornell Big Red (0-1), 82-60 on Friday night, but the 22-point final deficit tells only half the story. The Red came to play at the Carrier Dome, jumping out to a surprising 14-point first-half lead, leaving a mostly hostile crowd of 24,788 stunned.
Sophomore guard Nolan Cressler caught fire for much of the first half, totaling 20 points in the game’s first 16 minutes. A two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week last season, Cressler was transcendent on Friday, finding pockets of open space throughout Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone. Cressler, along with freshman guard Robert Hatter, paced Cornell early, as the Red outplayed and outhustled a much larger and more skilled Orange squad in front of a raucous Syracuse student section. As point guard, the inexperienced Hatter demonstrated considerable poise on the court.
“My teammates welcome me; they let me be a leader. They trust me and I trust them,” said the freshman from Houston. Hatter finished with nine points and two assists in only 14 minutes of play.
By Xiaoyue Guo / Staff PhotographerSohpomore guard Nolan Cressler scored 23 points in the Red’s opener, 20 of them coming in the first half.