A quick take on Syracuse’s 66-55 win over Elon on Saturday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Trailing by 2 with just over 13 minutes left in the second half, the Orange went on a 10-0 run to take a 47-39 lead with 11:04 left and never trailed after that. SU made a more concerted effort to get inside against the Phoenix, attempting just 15 of its 51 shots from beyond the arc.
ANALYSIS: While Syracuse improved to 3-0 on the season, it wasn’t a particularly satisfying win. Elon was projected in the preseason as the worst team in the Colonial League and hung with Syracuse deep into the second half. SU, holding a significant height and size advantage, had trouble holding the Phoenix off the boards, surrendering 14 offensive rebounds and only winning that category by eight. Some of that could be attributed to Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who has preferred to play a smaller lineup. Dajuan Coleman and Chinonso Obokoh only played a combined 15 minutes, with Tyler Lydon (35 minutes) manning the middle of the zone the rest of the time. While we’re talking about playing time, Kaleb Joseph (8) may soon find himself on the outside looking in, with freshman Frank Howard (9) getting more run.
HERO: Tyler Roberson, who had been quiet in SU’s first two games, had by far the best game of the young season. He finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds on 9-15 shooting from the field. Michael Gbinije played only 26 minutes after being saddled with three early fouls, but still contributed 16 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists.
ZERO: Malachi Richardson had his first rough shooting night in an Orange uniform, as he shot just 1-7 from the field and 1-6 from downtown. Still, he got to the free throw line 12 times, hitting 10. Collectively, Elon shot only 21-66 from the field and 8-33 from 3-point land.
WHAT’S NEXT: It’s off to Paradise Island, Bahamas for the Orange, where they will take on Charlotte in the next round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2.