Syracuse dominated Florida State Thursday in a game of two bubble teams, and the Orange looked good doing it. 62 percent from the field and 15 forced turnovers are a good formula for success. Here’s a look at what we learned in the big win.
Trevor Cooney Can Be Trevor Cooney
Last year, the Orange needed Trevor Cooney to be a little more than what he was. The incosistency shooting the ball just wasn’t good enough for a team that struggled so mightily on offense. He was the only shooter the Orange had for a big part of the year, and was forced to take a lot of low percentage shots in hopes that he’d get hot. This year, Cooney is able to be himself. The addition of Malachi Richardson and emergence of Michael Gbinije have given the Orange a strong perimeter offense, and now Cooney can get the space and has the supporting cast to take his shots. Cooney only went 2-7 from behind the arc Thursday, but Syracuse still had no trouble beating Florida State. This team doesn’t have to lean on Cooney anymore, which is better for both Cooney and the Orange.
Freshmen Are Important
The freshmen are what makes this year’s team better than last year’s team, and it showed Thursday. Richardson ended with 17 points on 6-10 shooting, while Tyler Lydon went for 15 and 10 and his third double-double of the season. Lydon’s ability to play the five (when at best he’s a stretch four) has been key to the Orange’s success. Dajuan Coleman doesn’t have the ability (and usually the fouls to give) to play the 35 minutes Cooney and Gbinije do every game, but if Lydon wasn’t there he might have had to. I’m even more excited to see what Lydon can do next year, when he’ll be able to play his true position and put in more work on the perimeter.
Syracuse Can Score Without Hitting Threes
Syracuse needs to make its threes to win. That’s been the narrative all year, but on Thursday Syracuse did it without the long ball. The Orange still shot 47 percent from behind the arc in its best shooting night of the year, but only took 17 threes. That’s the third-lowest total of the year, and the least since the Orange’s loss to Pittsburgh. Syracuse made 23 of 33 attempts from inside the arc, by far the best percentage of the year, and even cracked 70 percent from the free throw line. It’s good to know that this team can go inside, even though Florida State isn’t known for its defense.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson