Elijah Hughes totaled 19 points, nine assists and nine rebounds as Syracuse never trailed and recorded a 71-57 victory over visiting Niagara on Saturday night at the Carrier Dome.
Hughes reached double digits for the 13th straight game, dating to last season, by shooting 6 of 11 and 6 of 7 from the foul line.
He tied a career high in assists, finished one shy of his career high for rebounds and nearly posted Syracuse’s first triple-double since Allen Griffin against Pittsburgh on Feb. 27, 2001.
Buddy Boeheim added 15 points by hitting five 3-pointers, as Syracuse shot 36 percent from deep and 44.4 percent overall while leading by double-digits for most of the game.
Bourama Sidibe and Joseph Girard III added 10 points apiece for the Orange, and Sidibe also grabbed 13 rebounds.
Nick MacDonald scored 11 points to lead Niagara (2-9), which is coached by Greg Paulus, who was Syracuse football team’s starting quarterback in the 2009 season.
Greg Kuakumensah and James Towns added 10 points each as Niagara shot 32.4 percent and missed 21 of 27 3-point attempts.
The Orange (8-5) won its third straight game since a 10-point loss at former Big East rival Georgetown on Dec. 14.
They did not dominate the first meeting between the schools since Dec. 28, 2000, but rode a quick start to win their 10th straight meeting against Niagara dating to Feb. 25, 1976, when former Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden coached the Purple Eagles.
Niagara was held to its second-lowest point total of the season and lost its fourth straight game, all to intrastate opponents (Albany, St. Bonaventure, Buffalo and Syracuse).
Syracuse scored the game’s first 10 points to open its first double-digit lead on Boeheim’s 3-pointer a little over three minutes in.
The Orange was up 17-2 with about 14 1/2 minutes left, and Niagara did not reach double-digits until Raheem Solomon’s jumper made it 24-10 with 11:19 remaining.
Syracuse built the lead to 41-28 by halftime after shooting 48.5 percent and started the second half with a 10-4 run to push the lead to 51-32 on two free throws by Hughes with 16:02 left.
Syracuse held a 55-35 lead on two free throws by Brycen Goodine with 12:35 left and finished it off when Girard hit a 3-pointer with 3:59 left to make it 66-50.