Last night, Syracuse blew out Le Moyne after a dominate second half performance. Here are my five takeaways from SU's 39-point victory:
1. The freshman can play: The three freshman, Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon and Franklin Howard, combined for 29 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 turnovers. Richardson led the trio with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-8 from 3-point range. Richardson hit all three 3-pointers in the first half, which opened up the entire offense. Senior guard Michael Gbinije was then able to get open shots, which led to 21 points including five 3-pointers.
Frank Howard, who may be the biggest surprise on the team, scored 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting. Howard hit one 3-pointer and dished out 3 assists. Head coach Jim Boeheim told reporters if Frank was one year older, he would've been the starting point guard last season for the Orange. Despite overlooking Frank for a majority of the offseason due to Joseph's improvement, he may see legitimate minutes this year - especially if he continues to shoot the ball well.
Tyler Lydon's stock has gone through the roof this offseason. After an impressive Jordan Brand Classic performance, Lydon was described as the prize of the class and the most underrated recruit in the 2015 class. The 6-foot-9 forward finished with 6 points and 6 rebounds last night on 1-of-5 shooting, including 4-for-4 from the free throw line. It wasn't the performance Lydon was hoping for, but don't look too much into this. He'll be fine.
2. DaJuan Coleman: Coleman missed all of last season with a knee injury, and hasn't played significant minutes for the Orange in a few years. With that said, last night Coleman showed signs of what Syracuse fans have been waiting for. The redshirt junior finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds on 7-of-9 shooting. DaJuan looked healthy, said he felt healthy and was an integral part of the offense in the second half. He had a size advantage over Le Moyne, there's no doubt about that, but his numbers were still impressive. Coach Boeheim said they're not restricting DaJuan's minutes, but I'm not totally buying that. Boeheim can't afford to have DaJuan go down, and he knows that. Don't push his knees too far, too soon.
3. Obokoh still not there: Syracuse needs Chinonso Obokoh to step up this season, especially if something happens to DaJuan Coleman. In 11 minutes of action, Obokoh picked up 3 fouls and didn't grab one rebound. Chino is visibly stronger, but is still lost on the court. Freshman Tyler Lydon played a little center last night, but he won't be able to hold his own against an ACC center. Obokoh needs to step up his game.
4. Gbinije is right where he belongs: Redshirt senior Michael Gbinije started at point guard last night, which is right where he belongs. Gbinije is best with the ball in his hands. Last night, he finished with 21 points and 4 assists in 33 minutes of action. Kaleb Joseph has improved, but not enough to challenge Gbinije for the starting point guard position. With Mike at PG, it gives Syracuse a chance to have Cooney and Richardson on the court together, which could be a deadly shooting combo.
5. Saying nothing says something: When asked during his postgame press conference, Jim Boeheim told reporters he didn't say anything to his team at halftime, "Didn't tell them anything. Not anything. They just played better." Whether the 70-year-old head coach said something or not, the Orange were a different team in the second half. Syracuse outscored Le Moyne 53-24 in the second half, including a 21-2 run to open the half.