SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Jim Boeheim needed more from junior forward Tyler Roberson, and he got it. Roberson finished with a double-double and led all scorers with 20 points and 16 rebounds. He played with intention against the Phoenix. Not only did he rebound and score, he got on the floor and made it tough for Elon offensively.
“I thought Tyler Roberson was better tonight. He was trying to get to the boards, trying to be active. I thought that was key,” said Boeheim.
For a game that was supposed to be an easy win for Syracuse, the Orange had to fight until the end. None of the regular season games for SU have been easy wins, and this was no exception, coach Boeheim said.
“We’ve had three difficult games, teams you should beat, but they’re not by any stretch of the imagination easy games,” he said. “There really aren’t that many easy games anymore.”
The Orange got out to an early 9-2 lead against the Phoenix. In the first three minutes of the game, it seemed as though both teams were thinking faster than their bodies could react as the ball bounced off appendages like skipping rocks on water.
Michael Gbinije received his second personal foul with 14:11 left in the first half. Boeheim substituted sophomore guard Kaleb Joseph for Gbinije. Later, coach Boeheim risked it and put Gbinije back in only for him to get his third foul with 7:56 in the first half with Syracuse leading, 19-15.
Elon took the lead after a Tyler Lydon foul that sent Phoenix sophomore forward Jack Anton to the line. He drained both foul shots, putting the Phoenix up 20-19 with 3:55 remaining in the half. Syracuse went on a 10-3 run to close out the half, leading 29-23.
In the beginning of the second half, Elon had an 11-5 run sparked by a layup by red-shirt sophomore forward Brian Dawkins to tie the game 34-34. Syracuse took a time out at 16:10 to slow the Phoenix momentum.
After the timeout, Syracuse and Elon exchanged basket for basket until the Orange started pulling away after Gbinije scored a layup and was fouled, completing the three-point play putting the Orange up 47-39. Shortly after, Roberson hit a jumper and Gbinije stole the ball of an inbounds pass and drained a three bringing the Dome to life.
“I had a lot more opportunities tonight than I did the last two games,” Roberson said. “So I think I tried to take advantage of them.”
Tyler Lydon hit a trey on an assist from Gbinije to give the Orange their largest lead of the evening, 61-48. Finishing the game scoring in double figures was Gbinije with 16 points, and Malachi Richardson with 13 points.
Freshman guard Dainan Swoope led the Phoenix with 12 points. Elon was held to 24 percent from beyond the arc, compared the 40 percent for the Orange.
Up next for Syracuse is the Battle of the Atlantis, a three-game tournament, which will take place in Paradise Island, Bahamas. Their next home game is December 2 against the Wisconsin Badgers at 7:15 p.m..