It was the Tyler Roberson show as Syracuse beat Elon 66-55 to improve to 3-0 on the season.
With Michael Gbinije picking up three fouls in the first half, Syracuse needed someone else to step up and be the main man on offense. Roberson led all scorers with a career high 20 points, 14 of which came in the first half, hitting 9 of 14 from the field.
With Gbinije on the bench for the final eight minutes of the first half, Roberson slid right into his place, also racking up 16 rebounds in Syracuse’s first double-double of the season.
While he didn’t handle the ball the way Gbinije can, he drove to the basket and became the catalyst for the entire offense. He added a new dimension to the Syracuse offense that has been seriously lacking in the early part of this season.
We all know that Syracuse is going to shoot more threes and a more perimeter-oriented team this season, but abandoning the lane has been the biggest cause of Syracuse’s offensive struggles. Coleman has not provided anything on the offensive side of the ball and Syracuse has come to rely on its outside shooters.
However, with one of the team’s best shooters on the bench for much of the first half. the Orange were forced to find a new source of offense. Both Malachi Richardson and Trevor Cooney struggled for much of the game, and Syracuse instead turned to the 6-8 forward who has made a name for himself, not as a scorer, but as a rebounder.
Roberson changed the entire dynamic of the Syracuse offense, and his resurgence on offense seemed to inspire the rest of the team to shift their focus. We all know that this Syracuse team is going to shoot threes but when the Orange drove to the rim, they were rewarded.
Roberson was really the sole provider of interior offense in the first half, but in the second half he took a back seat as Gbinije returned and played much more aggressively on offense. He ended up having a solid game, posting 16 points and 6 rebounds in only 26 minutes.
He, Richardson and Cooney all drove the lane with much more frequency and, as a result, were rewarded with lay-ups, free throws and the occasional three point play. The team finished the game with only 15 attempted three-pointers.
The need to go to Tyler Roberson in the first half,created a very different Syracuse offense in the second half. While it was still not tremendously productive or efficient, it was certainly more efficient and far less frustrating than the offense that had been run in the first two games.