Syracuse barely got by Virginia Tech Tuesday, 68-60 in overtime. There was plenty to talk about, but here are the biggest takeaways from the win.
Syracuse Can Win Without Shooting Well
At the beginning of the year Jim Boehim told us Syracuse wouldn’t be able to beat anyone if it couldn’t hit its shots. Today, that was proven wrong. The Orange shot 38.5 percent from the field on the game and hit only a third of its threes (in the first half the Orange shot under 30 percent and went 2-14 from behind the arc).
This is the first time [since coming back from suspension] we just didn’t have it,” Jim Boeheim said after the game. “We couldn’t make shots early. We were getting beat.”
But still, the Orange won. Syracuse stayed in it through that tough first half through the offensive glass, where the Orange picked up nine offensive rebounds and scored 10 of its 24 first half points on the second chance. Shooting is a big part of this team’s success, but it isn’t everything.
Tyler Roberson Kept It Close
After tallying two fouls in the first seven minutes of the game, Tyler Roberson probably shouldn’t have been that big of a factor. He didn’t get that memo. Not only did Roberson stay on the floor with two fouls (he ended up playing 41 of 45 minutes), he tallied 12 points and 15 boards (six offensive) while not picking up another foul for the rest of the game. We’ve seen Roberson put up big rebounding numbers all season, and for Boeheim it’s become more expectation than exceptional.
“If no one is guarding you and no one is blocking you out you should get the rebound,” Boeheim said. “He did that, and he should continue to do that.”
Roberson was a big part of the rebounding force keeping the game from getting out of hand in the first half, and he was the MVP of this one.
Malachi Was Clutch Again
Malachi Richardson has already shown he has a knack for hitting big shots when Syracuse needs them most, and Tuesday was no different. Down seven with under two minutes to play, Richardson hit a big three and then on the next possession drove and found Tyler Lydon for an easy dunk. In a matter of 30 seconds the Orange was back in it. Then, in overtime, he hit a three with a minute and a half left to put Syracuse up six.
“Malachi made the three that decided the game, really,” Boeheim said after the game. “He can make those shots.”
“I always want to take the shot, always want to make the play, that’s just me,” Richardson added. “That’s my personality.”
Richardson won’t be shying away from the limelight any time soon.
Oh, and for Coach Boeheim’s final thoughts for the media before heading into a nine day break?
“It’s a good win. I’m glad I don’t have to see you for a while. Bye.”
Would you want him any other way?
Posted: Nathan Dickinson