SU Basketball: Syracuse vs Indiana (Pa.) University

Battle impresses in SU men's basketball exhibition win

Freshman among four Orange players who reach double-figure scoring totals in season tune-up against Indiana (Pa).

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team overcame an early deficit to beat Indiana University (PA), 83-65, in its first exhibition of the season on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome.

Nobody will forget last year’s electrifying Final Four run. But, with guards Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney gone after graduating, fans got a glimpse of who the new leaders for SU will be.

Photo: Rusty Frank

Coming off a terrific freshmen campaign, forward Tyler Lydon led the way on both sides of the court with a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) to go along with three assists and two blocks. Forward Tyler Roberson also played well, recording 14 points (7-9 shooting) and seven boards in the 22 minutes he played.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was freshman guard Tyus Battle’s spectacular first-half performance. Praised by many as the top SU recruit in this year’s class, he put on a clinic for the Orange faithful. Battle shot 5-for-5 from the court to start, hitting three in row from beyond the arc.

“The energy was great…me and Tyler [Lydon], we like to stay aggressive,” Battle said after the game. “It was a good challenge for us.”

Sophomore point guard Frank Howard (10 points) started the game over Colorado State transfer John Gillon. The two are competing for a starting backcourt spot.

Center DaJuan Coleman, who was in the starting five as well, added seven points (3-3 shooting) in 11 minutes of play. Coleman started all 37 games for the Orange last season.

Another takeaway from the exhibition is the depth Syracuse will possess this season, especially in the frontcourt. Head coach Jim Boeheim added two redshirt seniors to the SU roster during the offseason in Andrew White III, who recorded eight points, and Gillon who tallied six points and nine assists. The two are expected to be major contributors for the Orange this season.

“It’s always a new adjustment coming into a new place regardless of the experience you have,” Gillon said. “You have to learn on the fly. I just try to learn and get better.”

Syracuse opened the exhibition on Tuesday playing man-to-man defense for the first eight minutes of the game. SU has almost exclusively played a 2-3 zone in the past. Boeheim addressed the early defensive adjustment in his postgame press conference.

“We’re working on our man-to-man,” Boeheim said. “We could technically use it in some situations. We’ll see…At this time of the year, you’ve got to get better at everything you do.”

SU’s next exhibition is scheduled for November 8 against Le Moyne at the Carrier Dome, the last tune-up before the regular season kicks-off next Friday against Colgate. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. 

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