NCAA Tournament: Syracuse vs Dayton

Syracuse beats Dayton 70-51 after dominant second half

The first round of the NCAA Tournament was even through one half, and they turned it around without great performances from Graduate Forward Michael Gbinije or Redshirt Senior Guard Trevor Cooney. Here's what you can take away from the game:

1. Halftime Blitz

The Orange were shooting even with the Dayton Flyers heading into halftime, but production grew mightily in the second half. Syracuse outscored Dayton 25-5 through the first 13 minutes, turning a two-point lead into 22.

2. Control the Boards

Junior Forward Tyler Roberson led the Orange with 18 rebounds, one shy of a school record for rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game, a record set by Derrick Coleman in the 1987 championship game against Indiana. Overall, Syracuse out-rebounded the Flyers 48-28 and, by doing so, held Dayton to a season low in scoring: 51.

3. Strong Defense

Dayton's 32 percent shooting from the floor could signify a weak performance on their part, but it also could mean the Syracuse defense was causing them to take poor shots. Otherwise, both teams were even with seven steals, and Syracuse turned the ball over 15 times while Dayton only turned over nine. 

4. Freshman Leadership

When the upperclassmen aren't at the top of their game, it's nice to have some younger players who can step up. Freshman Guard Malachi Richardson led the team with 21 points off of 42 percent shooting while going 8-9 at the free throw line. Freshman Forward Tyler Lydon also helped the Orange, putting up 14 points.

5. Pressure

Once the Orange had control of the game, they didn't take their foot off the pedal. Dayton had no chance to recover from the 15-plus deficit because Syracuse kept on scoring. This drive to the finish line will come in handy in Sunday's matchup against the No. 15 Middle Tennessee St. Blue Raiders, who pulled off the upset against Michigan on Thursday. Like Syracuse, the Blue Raiders rely on 3-point shooting, as they rank among the top in shooting percentage beyond the arc: 38.6 percent. 

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