The CuseNation.com staff is counting down the top five moments from Syracuse basketball's 2015-16 season. Here is pick number four according to Mike McAllister and Ben Sigel.
McAllister: Victory Over Duke
Winning at Duke is no easy task, regardless of the season and circumstances surrounding the victory. It is even more difficult to beat Duke after they've lost two in a row and you're facing a raucous Cameron Indoor crowd. Yet, that is exactly what the Orange did behind a performance for the ages from Tyler Roberson.
Roberson was fantastic. He set a Cameron Indoor record with 20 rebounds, added 14 points, had a highlight reel alley-oop dunk and made several key plays in the second half. It showed what Roberson can do when he is "plugged in."
Giving Syracuse a win at Duke, in Duke transfer Michael Gbinije's last game there was huge. That game was also a key win on Syracuse's NCAA Tournament resume, especially as the Blue Devils ended up being a top 20 team by selection Sunday.
The win also helped Syracuse get back into the swing of things in conference play. After an 0-4 start, the win marked the third straight ACC victory .
Sigel: Battle 4 Atlantis
Entering the 2015-16 season, nobody knew what to expect from Malachi Richardson or Tyler Lydon, but Syracuse fans got a glimpse of a very bright future during Thanksgiving week. The Orange upset No. 18 Connecticut and No. 25 Texas A&M to win the tournament and start the season 6-0. The following Tuesday, SU entered the top 25 poll at No. 14.
In Syracuse's first game against Charlotte, Gbinije scored a game-high 26 points, Lydon and Richardson combined for 30 points and SU went on to win by 13. The following day, the Orange upset Connecticut while the two freshmen combined for 29 points and 18 rebounds. Against Texas A&M, the freshmen combined for 29 points, again, and Tyler Lydon's name was starting to be talked about throughout the country. He even made it into the 1st round of Draft Express' 2017 mock draft, which he stayed in all season long.
The Orange did a little bit of everything down in the Bahamas - rebounded, scored, defended, had senior leadership and great guard play. Syracuse also proved they had the makings of a team that could do well in a tournament setting. They had the four components needed: Senior guards, coaching, great defense and the ability to shoot. Obviously, it proved to be true once they made a Final Four run. But people that followed this team closely knew what they were capable of after the three-game stretch at Paradise Island.