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Roberson was good around the rim, sometimes

Tuesday night was Syracuse's last opportunity to tune up before starting conference play this Sunday. Who better to battle than your long-time, annual local foe Cornell, from an hour away down I-81 and Route 13? It was another slow start for the Orange, but around the under-12 timeout in the first half, Syracuse finally took the lead and began to pull away. A 42-25 SU lead at halftime ultimately became an 80-56 final score bringing Syracuse to an 8-5 record heading into ACC play.

  • Tyler Lydon led the way in scoring for the Orange with 20 points on 6-12 shooting, including 4-6 from three. He was pretty confident in his stroke. Tyler also added ten rebounds in a team-high 36 minutes for another double-double. Nice game.
  • Other scorers in double digits were Taurean Thompson (18), Tyus Battle (16), and Andrew White (12). Overall, Syracuse shot the ball OK, at 45.3%, and 39.1% from three. It was great to see Taurean & Tyus have good games, to hopefully give them more confidence as the season rolls on. Boeheim had a lot of good things to say about Taurean's offensive game, but admitted his defense still needs a lot of work.
  • Defensively, I thought Syracuse looked pretty good moving around in the zone. The zone created 15 turnovers, leading to 19 Syracuse points.
  • Syracuse was also active on the boards, with 41 total rebounds and 12 offensive rebounds leading to 18 second chance points.
  • Tyler Roberson had seven of those rebounds, including one offensive rebound for a highlight-generating put-back slam. When he's on his game (see also, 2016 at Duke), Tyler is a force to be reckoned with. When he's not, it's like the second half of last night and he sees his minutes limited.
  • Speaking of limited minutes, where was DaJuan Coleman last night? I assume he started the game? OK, yes, he did (full disclosure, a slow dinner led to me missing the tip). By the time I sat down, he was already pulled from the game, and didn't appear again until part-way through the second half. I wondered whether he was hurt. I guess he just wasn't playing well. Nine minutes, two points, one rebound, and three turnovers. Definitely not the kind of effort that will keep you in the game, especially coming off whatever it is that happened in the St. John's game.
  • Cornell had flashes of great ball movement leading to great offensive possessions, but couldn't really sustain anything. They only managed two players in double digit points, and turnovers really hurt them. They reverted to several 3-point attempts, only to have a quarter of them fall in. It was a good game plan, but they just couldn't execute.
  • Cornell was assessed a technical foul in the second half, when a player not on the official scorecard tried to check in. Off enough to see from any school, but you'd think Cornell would have its act together a little better than that. Attention to detail must not be important.
So that's it. An 8-5 non-conference record. Even if Syracuse goes 9-9 in ACC play -- which might be a daunting task -- it falls three wins short of the magic number of 20 wins. Let's face it: Syracuse needs to win the ACC games it should, and steal a few it shouldn't; it needs to run off a decent to dominating ACC Tournament. Absent those things happening, Syracuse will find itself on the NIT side of the bubble. Let's hope this team continues to improve, put something good together, and change the narrative.

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