Syracuse’s opening night victory over Lehigh was nothing short of ugly. However, a win is a win and the Orange are sitting at 1-0 and are ready to host St. Bonavenutre on Tuesday night. The Bonnies are also 1-0, having beat Binghamton 63-53 on Friday night.
The Orange managed to get by Lehigh despite some shaky offense. The Orange shot less than 35 percent from the field and had very little off-ball movement. Two players in particular seemed to struggle in this new-look Syracuse offense; Tyler Roberson and DaJaun Coleman.
Let’s start with Coleman. It is understandable that he’s not as his best as he is playing for the first time in over a year. However, he managed to get into foul trouble very early in the game, and when he was on the court, he was almost a non-factor on offense. He ended up playing 13 minutes and only attempted two shots.
Coleman will be the biggest man on the court on Tuesday for either team. Syracuse needs to find a way to get him the ball down low. Not only will it provide more easy points, but it will open up more looks beyond the arc, which clearly, the Orange are very keen to take this season.
Last season, Tyler Roberson emerged as one of, if not the best athlete on the Syracuse team. He was virtually invisible on the Syracuse offense on Friday night. He only attempted three shots, and finished the game with zero points and only two offensive rebounds.
This performance has to be about more than Syracuse’s new “fire away” strategy. The Orange have to find a way to get their forwards the ball. Roberson certainly has the ability to take the ball to the rim and the Orange need to convert easier baskets.
Even if the offense struggles once again, the Orange should beat the Bonnies. While the offense was stagnant, Syracuse’s defense was very good, particularly in the first half, holding Lehigh to only two made field goals.
The Orange may be able to get away with another shaky offensive performance but they need to start getting their forwards involved now if they want to compete in the deep ACC.