The return of Tyler Lydon was bittersweet.
After struggling for the for the majority of the beginning of the season, the sophomore caught fire against Georgetown with a career high 29 points, albeit in a losing effort. It seemed like Lydon could not miss, going 12-13 from the floor. The rest of the team combined to go 13-44.
While the Hoyas poured salt into the wound that is Orange fans’ hearts who mourned the late Pearl Washington during the game, this was an important performance for Lydon. The forward looked confident in himself for seemingly the first time all season. Obviously, seeing the ball go through the hoop, especially from behind the arc (3-3) helped build that faith in that shot. Along with points, he also recorded his career highs in field goal percentage (92 percent) and field goal attempts (13). It was just the second time all season that Lydon had attempted double digit shots. In those two games, he has produced his top two scoring outputs of the season.
So that is where the problem has been. We heard Jim Boeheim say it earlier this year as well. Tyler Lydon simply needs to shoot the ball more. Throughout his career, Lydon is averaging nearly 18 points per game when he takes at least 10 shots. Now that seems obvious under the logic that if you shoot more, you are bound to score more. But Lydon actually shoots better when he is taking double digit field goal attempts. In games where Lydon takes 10+ shots, he is shooting 58 percent, but that number dips by 15 percent when he attempts single digit field goals. Not only do Lydon’s numbers skyrocket when he is firing away, but it is helping Syracuse win. When he shoots it 10 times or more, the Orange is 6-3.
This team has a number of capable scorers, but it is no secret that Lydon should be contending as the team’s leader in that department. Andrew White III owns that title right now by about five points per game, but if Lydon continues to shoot early and often, he can sneak up on White. But most importantly, it will translate to Orange wins.