SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When Paul Harris came out for warmups prior to Monday night's game against Colgate, his Syracuse teammates and the Carrier Dome crowd did a double-take.
Harris was sporting a huge afro instead of his normal cornrows, and his derring-do won a bet with teammate Jonny Flynn. After tying his hair into a ponytail for the game so it wouldn't get in his eyes, Harris scored 22 points and Syracuse (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) celebrated its first appearance in the national rankings in just more than a year with an 86-51 victory over the Raiders.
"Coach didn't know who it was. He like backed up. It was fun," Harris said. "The only time I did that was one time in high school. I was kind of nervous doing it -- I didn't even play good in that game."
He did on this night.
Harris and Flynn combined to score the Orange's first 15 points in the first 4:31 of play -- two more than the Raiders managed the entire first half as they struggled to find open looks against Syracuse's man-to-man defense.
"We came out a little shaky," said Colgate forward Alex Woodhouse, who had a career-high seven blocks. "We've got a lot of freshmen that haven't experienced playing at a place like this before. But I think that they showed some positive things by coming out in the second half. Everybody got their jitters out."
Colgate, with five freshmen and three sophomores on its roster, shot 17 percent (5-for-29) and committed 15 turnovers in coming within two points of equaling the fewest points allowed by the Orange in one half. Princeton scored 11 in the first half of a 60-43 loss to Syracuse in November 1999 in the Carrier Dome.
"They couldn't even get into their offense," Harris said.
Flynn finished with 12 points and a season-high seven assists for the Orange (7-0), who have won 43 straight in the series against Colgate and improved to 116-45 against their longtime upstate New York foe.
In its previous two games, Syracuse rallied from 13-point deficits to beat then-No. 22 Kansas in overtime and Virginia. No second-half rally was needed against Colgate (2-3), which trailed 43-13 at halftime.
Flynn started the game with a 3-pointer from the left corner off a feed from Harris, his former high school teammate in Niagara Falls. After Flynn followed with a steal and layup, Harris scored the next nine points, completing the spurt with a driving layup.
"He'll have to keep that hairdo," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said with a smile. "I was happy he tied it up. It was scary in the locker room."
Woodhouse had the lone Colgate basket during the opening Syracuse run, a jumper at 17:45. Willie Morse hit a 3 at 14:55 after he was left wide open on left wing, Yaw Gyawu had a layup, and Mike Venezia made a pair of 3-pointers in the final 6 minutes to account for the Raiders' scoring in the period.
Rick Jackson finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double for Syracuse. Freshman Mookie Jones had a season-high nine points and classmate Kris Joseph had seven, combining to play 37 minutes.
With Syracuse playing its fifth game in 10 days and well ahead early, Boeheim did some experimenting as 13 players got into the win.
"You see Mookie Jones come in and get his confidence up," said Harris, who was waiting for Flynn to shave his head as the loser of the bet. "It's just fun for the locker room and fun for the team. We need everybody if we want to go far."
The Orange were expected to be much more effective from the perimeter this season with the return of guards Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf from knee injuries. But Syracuse shot 4-of-17 from beyond the arc against the Raiders, the last one coming at the final buzzer by walk-on Jake Presutti.
Colgate was without Kyle Roemer, its leading scorer a season ago at 16.3 points per game. Roemer tore a knee ligament in September and is out for the season.
"I knew it was going to be tough the way they're playing coming off those wins," Colgate coach Emmett Davis said. "It was the most inexperienced team that we've had coming up here."