Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s season-opening win vs. Lehigh

first_img Published on November 13, 2015 at 9:07 pm Syracuse (1-0) used a torrid first half to edge Lehigh (0-1), 57-47, in the Carrier Dome on Friday night. Here are three quick thoughts on the Orange’s season-opening win.1. Role reversal After Syracuse jumped out to a 20-point lead after 20 minutes, Lehigh roared back into the game and Syracuse found itself in an unfamiliar situation.The Mountain Hawks, for much of the second half, shifted into a 2-3 zone to slow down Syracuse’s breakneck game and claw back. It left the Orange searching the perimeter for open shots, and only after Trevor Cooney andMichael Gbinije made 3s toward the end of the game did Lehigh switch back into a man-to-man defense that SU could penetrate against.The unveiling of Syracuse’s refocused perimeter offense got off to a slow start and Lehigh’s zone only magnified that. The Orange finished just 11-for-34 from beyond the arc, but made enough shots at the right times to avoid a season-opening upset. The game — just one short look at how SU plans to play this season — showed that Syracuse is capable of both living and dying by its ability to hit 3s.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Monday, it lived. But the Mountain Hawks were only picked to win the Patriot League and the season is very young.2. Fresh legs Freshman forward Tyler Lydon provided a big boost for the Orange on Friday night, but not by scoring the basketball.Lydon played 28 minutes in place of starters Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson — Coleman for foul trouble after picking up two early and a third with 15:36 left in the game, and Roberson for poor rebounding and defense. Lydon was very active on both ends, finishing with four points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. In his collegiate debut, Lydon’s biggest effects on the game come on hustle plays. He frequently went to the floor after loose balls and made two athletic saves under the Orange’s rim to kickstart the fast break in the first half.Junior center Chinonso Obokoh was also impressive in place of Coleman, finishing with four defensive rebounds and a game-high four blocks.3. First-half defense sets the toneIn the opening possessions of the game, Lehigh looked like it would expose Syracuse’s 2-3 zone all night. Entry passes found open players in the short corner. There was room to attack out of the high post. Any adjustments by the Orange promised to open up the perimeter for the Mountain Hawks’ shooters.But then Syracuse picked up defensive intensity and scoring opportunities vanished. Lehigh scored just 12 first-half points while shooting 2-for-23 from the field and 1-for-10 from 3. The Mountain Hawks also committed 12 turnovers, and didn’t score a field goal for the final 13:14 while the Orange went on a 12-3 run.Lehigh tweaked its offense, rediscovered the holes and opened the second half with an 18-4 run, turning an inevitable blowout into a tight contest. But it didn’t matter that the regular-season debut of SU’s 3-heavy offense was underwhelming, because Lehigh’s first-half output put it down 20 points it couldn’t make up for.  The Hawks finished 2-for-17 from 3, which was the biggest impediment on its comeback chances.Syracuse, with just one player shorter than 6 feet, 4 inches in its nine-man rotation, ultimately used its length to stiff arm an upset bid. And it probably won’t be the last time that happens this season. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *