The Orange came out absolutely flying in a 85-72 win against Florida State on a bitterly cold Thursday night at the Carrier Dome. Malachi Richardson, Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije were hitting every shot they hoisted up leading the Orange to a 14 point lead early in the first half. However, the last 7 minutes of the first half were a different story as the Seminoles dominated the glass and the paint and Syracuse turned the ball over 20 times. When the first half ended, Syracuse’s lead had dwindled to three. One man who was not involved was DaJuan Coleman. Oh, how things would change.
There were no surprises about this Florida State team. They have a couple of strong guards in Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley and a tremendous amount of size down low, especially in starting center Boris Bojanovsky who stands at 7-3. Early on the Orange’s hot outside shooting canceled out the Seminole’s size advantage. As the game wore on, however, Syracuse’s inability to get the ball into the paint proved to be a real issue.
That is, until DaJuan Coleman awoke from his nearly two-year long slumber. The big man absolutely exploded out of the gate to start the second half picking up 6 points, 2 rebounds and an assist in the first two-plus minutes of the half. He was forced to the bench with three fouls but the Orange built on his momentum, starting the second half on a 17-3 run.
“I definitely got into a rhythm,” Coleman said of his little run in the second half. “My teammates did a good job of getting the ball to me down low.”
From that point on, things clicked for the Orange. Michael Gbinije picked up the scoring, finishing with 22 points and Lydon slid into the center role picking up a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Syracuse’s offense was, and there really isn’t another way to say it, a privilege to watch for most of the game, especially in the second half.
“I think it was just a matter of making shots,” Tyler Lydon said. “We also made a lot of good plays, a lot of unselfish plays and I think that helped us out too.”
In the first half, the Orange were almost hanging on after a hot start. In the second half, Syracuse built on its hot start and blew the game wide open. Coleman finished the game with 8 points and 3 rebounds but proved to be the catalyst for a tremendous second half that saw the Orange cruise past the Seminoles.