SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wants his bench to perform better.
He got his wish Saturday.
John Gillon and Taurean Thompson came off the bench to score a Syracuse career-high 23 points and career-high 22 points, respectively, and the Orange broke open a tight game early in the second half to defeat Boston University 99-77.
Gillon hadn’t scored in Syracuse’s two previous games.
“We want guys to come off the bench to score and that’s what happened today,” Boeheim said. “Thompson is getting better on offense. … John saved the game in the first half.”
Andrew White added 19 and Tyler Lydon 10 for the Orange (6-3). Frank Howard had 11 assists and just two turnovers.
Syracuse had lost three of four entering the game.
Cedric Hankerson led the Terriers (4-6) with 34 points, including 10 of 20 from beyond the arc. Eric Fanning chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Syracuse led 45-39 at the half but outscored the Terriers 19-5 in the first five minutes of the second half, led by seven from Thompson, to take a 64-44 lead. The Orange breezed the rest of the way, extending their lead to 88-55. Syracuse shot 55 percent in the second half, outscoring the Terriers 54-38 after intermission.
“They just got on a run and we couldn’t really bounce back from that,” said Hankerson. “They were hitting some daggers and we started turning the ball over too much.”
“They had some guys who shot better than they had been, and we helped them,” said BU coach Joe Jones. “We were really bad on offense and made some really bad decisions and you can’t do that.”
Gillon and Thompson scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, in the first half to spark what had been a lethargic Orange effort. Gillon’s first-half points included 4 of 4 from beyond the arc.
“I had a lot going on and wasn’t in the right mindset, not ready to play,” said Gillon. “That’s what happens, you get bad results. I’m getting myself together.”
Both teams exchanged baskets early on, but then the Terriers went on an 8-0 run, led by two 3-pointers by Hankerson, to take a 20-12 lead. Two 3s by Gillon and a jumper by Thompson tied the score at 23 with 8:31 to go in the half. The Orange then outscored BU 22-16 to take its halftime lead.
Hankerson, who averaged 9.3 points a game entering the game, scored 19 in the first half.
The undersized Terriers outrebounded Syracuse for the game.
Despite the win, Boeheim said there’s much work to do.
“It’s foolish for me or anybody to think this was going to happen right away. It’s a long way off,” Boeheim said. “We have glaring weaknesses and have to get better.”
BOSTON UNIVERSITY: The Terriers hung tough for a half but the Orange’s talent took over in the second 20 minutes. BU was tough on the boards and had 18 second-chance points.
SYRACUSE: It was another decisive victory for the Orange over a decidedly inferior opponent, so you can’t really judge much from the win.
Hankerson’s game was his best yet since returning from last year’s season-pending ACL. . This was the first game all year that the Terriers had been outscored in the paint.
White has scored in double figures in all nine Syracuse games. . Lydon is 3 of 17 from 3 in his last three games. .. Dajuan Coleman had just two points after two solid efforts.
Boston University: Hosts New Hampshire a week from Sunday.
Syracuse: Continues its five-game homestand next Saturday against longtime rival Georgetown on what’s been designated “Pearl Washington Day” in honor of the Syracuse legend who died earlier this year.