SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Orange (7-2) got back on track Tuesday night, defeating Colgate, 78-51, at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse made fourteen 3-pointers en route to their seventh win the season.
Here are my four takeaways from the game:
1. Tyler Lydon performs well when the spotlight isn't on him - I don't mean this in a bad way, but the buzz around SU's 6-foot-9 freshman has declined over the past two games. Lydon has proved that he is human after all and does have weaknesses on the court. After two shaky performances, the forward took four shots, made three of them and finished the game with 11 points. He also added six rebounds and three blocks in 32 minutes. Lydon wasn't asked to score a bunch of points tonight. He played within himself, which led to more success.
2. Nobody wants to take the third guard position - The battle between Kaleb Joseph and Frank Howard for the third guard position was lousy again tonight. In what turned out to be a 27-point victory for the Orange, Michael Gbinije played 39 minutes, while Trevor Cooney played 36. Joseph was held scoreless in five minutes of action, while Howard scored two points, grabbed two rebounds, dished out two assists but also committed two turnovers. Five of Frank's seven minutes came in the first half.
It's quite obvious that Syracuse won't be able to survive in the ACC with only two guards. I don't think coach Boeheim or coach Hopkins cares which one steps-up at this point, they just hope that one will. Right when you think Howard will break out of his shell, he commits lazy turnovers. As soon as Joseph looks like he's making strides to take over the third guard spot, he lollygags a rotation in the 2-3 zone.
3. Fourteen made 3-pointers looks good on paper but, in reality, the Orange can't rely on the 3-ball this much - When one looks at the stat sheet after the game, 14-for-30 (46.7%) from 3-point range is tremendous. When I look at 14-for-30 from deep, I think 'Wow, not much going on inside.' Maybe that's being a pessimist, or maybe it's addressing a problem that SU will have all season. Whether it's Dajuan Coleman or Tyler Roberson, Syracuse is going to need an inside presence, especially in conference play. Lydon is too small to be an offensive threat inside against physical centers; he's better playing the stretch four.
Coleman and Roberson combined for 17 points and 9 rebounds in 42 minutes of action on Tuesday. These two players are at Syracuse for a reason. They simply need to be better.
4. Rebounding will be a concern all season, but against Colgate, too? - Syracuse and Colgate each finished the game with 32 rebounds. Surprising? Maybe. Disappointing? Yes. Dana Batt, a 6-foot-9 freshman, was the tallest Raider to play on Tuesday. He finished the game with one rebound. Moral of the story, the Orange are getting outworked on the glass. In their last three games, including Colgate, Syracuse is getting beat on the glass 108-89, which includes 43 offensive rebounds given up.
Early in the season, the Orange can get away with these rebounding numbers because they're simply more talented than Colgate, Elon, Lehigh, etc. But when SU has ran into projected tournament teams (Georgetown and Wisconsin), they've lost. Come ACC time, if Syracuse hasn't addressed the issue on the glass, no game is a 'gimme,' and no lead is safe.