CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. — Taking the court Sunday in the Conte Forum, the Orange looked to keep its winning streak alive in a rematch against Boston College. Thanks to some impressive play by its freshmen duo, Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon, Syracuse did just that.
Richardson finished the game with 15 points and tallied five assists for the third straight game. Lydon registered a career-high 20 points, including a vicious first half dunk. In a game that was a must win, the two were essential in a 75-61 road victory.
“[Richardson is] using the ball, he’s handling the ball more, he’s doing more with the ball,” Jim Boheim said. “He’s a very good passer and he can make plays. That’s important for us.”
Despite a slow start and a Boston College run at the end of the first half that saw a 10-point Orange lead evaporate to a 35-32 margin, Richardson and Lydon helped the Orange take complete control in the second half.
Playing in front of a crowd dominated by Syracuse fans, Richardson made some noise in the second half, draining a 3-point shot at the 13:02 minute mark to give SU a 47-43 lead. That proved to be the impetus for a game-changing 16-2 run that handed the Orange a 60-45 lead with 9:52 left, with all 16 points coming from the duo.
After assisting Lydon on a layup, Richardson again brought the visiting Syracuse fans to their feet with another big shot from beyond the arc. With the lead extended to seven, the Orange had found the rhythm that it had struggled to maintain during the first half.
Keeping the momentum going, Richardson passed to a wide open Lydon who knocked down a 3-pointer of his own. The ball had barely left his teammate’s hands, but a confident Richardson was already moving back down the court.
“I knew it was good before I even threw it to him,” Richardson said. “He was in rhythm, he was wide open, he had just had a couple buckets, and I knew it was going in.”
Lydon’s afternoon was not over with that shot. With just over nine minutes left, he followed it up with another crowd pleasing 3. Receiving an assist from Trevor Cooney in the final two minutes, Lydon capped off his day with a solid layup that gave him the most productive game of his young career.
“I think he’s just getting a rhythm, he had that today,” Cooney said. “He’s a tough kid, he’s going to fight out there for us and do what he needs to do to better the team.”
The win was SU’s eighth in its last nine games as it continues to build its NCAA resume.
“We did the things we had to do today to win,” Boeheim said. “It really came down to making some shots in the second half and that’s what we did. If we hadn’t we would still be out there playing or we wouldn’t win.”