SU Basketball: Syracuse vs. Colgate

Syracuse delivers dominant offensive performance in win over Colgate

Four Orange players reach double figures as Syracuse men's basketball topped the Colgate Raiders, 83-55, in the season opener at the Carrier Dome

The Syracuse men’s basketball season opened with a bang Friday night…literally. Forward Tyler Roberson threw down a powerful dunk on Syracuse’s opening possession and the Orange did not look back, beating Colgate, 83-55, at the Carrier Dome.

Roberson was the recipient of many easy plays at the rim. Early in the first half a steal by forward Tyler Lydon led to an alley-oop off an assist from Frank Howard. Later in half, guard John Gillon found Roberson for another alley-oop dunk. Roberson finished with 18 points on nine of 13 shooting, including six dunks.

Photo: Rusty Frank
Andrew White III launches a shot during Syracuse's 83-55 win over Colgate on Friday.

Not known for his scoring ability, Roberson, a senior, said he’s learned what it takes to succeed near the rim.

“I was just looking for open spots and the guards did a great job of getting me the ball,” Roberson said. “I’ve been through this a few times now and it’s my senior year and I know what to look forward to and not to get too high or low on myself and just continue playing hard and working hard in practice every day no matter what.”

Roberson’s strong performance did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“Coach challenged him to be better to start the year, and to see him respond and do what he did was great for him and well-deserved,” said Andrew White III, who added 17 points. “I like to see good humble guys work and then get a quick reward out of it, so hopefully this will help him get the ball rolling so that he can finish out his senior year the way he would want to.”

The guards also executed well for the Orange against Colgate. Frank Howard started the game and had 11 points and nine assists. He also connected on all three of his shots from 3-point range.

Gillon finished with 13 points and six assists. Tyus Battle struggled, however, finishing 1-7 from the field with six points.

“I thought they [Frank and John] really played exceptionally well,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.

While Howard did most for his damage from behind the arc, Gillon found success driving to the hoop and finishing in traffic. Howard struggled last year shooting the ball, but this year Boeheim has given him the green light.

“I’m not going to come and jack three’s because then you get the red light, you don’t get to shoot anymore,” Howard said. “I’m just going to take what they give me. If I get an open three, I’ll take it. If not I’ll try and get somebody else an open shot.”

And for Gillon, who is listed at only 6’0”, his ability to score while surrounded by big men has been impressive.

“Sometimes I force the issue when I’m driving, but I’m normally good at setting myself up to get a good angle to the basket,” Gillon said.

Syracuse did struggle at times on the boards and with their press. Syracuse barely won the rebounding battle, 46-40, against a much smaller Colgate team.

“We’ve got to rebound the ball better, especially when you have a size advantage, we’ve got to take advantage of that and we didn’t,” Boeheim said.

As for the press, Boeheim said he isn't sure what’s wrong.

“I wanted to keep trying [the press] to see if it would get any better and it didn’t,” Boeheim said.

For Colgate, it was knocking down the 3-point shot early but went cold quickly. Guard Sean O’Brien shot it well from distance, going three of seven from downtown. Forward Malcolm Regisford led the way for the Raiders with 10 points, topped off by a major dunk late in the second half over a few Syracuse defenders. The Raiders led for only one minute and 58 seconds, with its largest lead at two points.

Attendance for the season-opener was 23,844. Syracuse is back in action at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday against Holy Cross at 7 p.m.

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