The Syracuse Orange’s best player is heating up at the perfect time.
Earlier in the season — when the Orange were struggling mightily — Tyler Lydon couldn’t do anything right. In SU’s first eight games, Lydon found double-digits just three times.
Since then, he’s had five straight games in double-figures.
Looking back to the Georgetown game, a 78-71 loss on Pearl Washington Day, the sophomore forward had his best game at Syracuse. He went for a career-high 29 points on 12-of-13 shooting, and a perfect 3-for-3 from deep. He did miss three free throws, but let’s not get greedy.
Despite the loss, we all thought the same thing. “He’s back.”
The following game, Lydon suffered a strained right Achilles against Eastern Michigan. He scored 12 first-half points in 16 minutes, and sat the latter 20 minutes in SU’s 105-57 victory.
He followed that performance up with a 16-point game against St. John’s, which was a 33-point loss. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, which was good for his second double-double of the season.
But more importantly, on Tuesday, Lydon’s consistency continued. He recorded his second straight double-double by scoring 20 points and corralling 10 rebounds. He went 6-for-12 from the floor, and 4-of-6 from deep.
“Teammates were just finding me in good positions and I was able to knock down shots and shoot it confidently,” Lydon said after the game.
In his last five games, Lydon’s averaging 17.4 points and 8.2 rebounds. The Orange is 3-2 in those games, but it seems as if he’s finally catching his stride. It seems like Lydon finally understands his role on this year’s team. And for a Syracuse squad that needs to have a special ACC regular season, Lydon’s the first domino that needs to fall.
He’ll obviously need help — Andrew White, Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Taurean Thompson, and so on... — but it starts with Lydon. He’s the returning star from the Final Four team, and whether he wants to be or not — he’s the leader. It’s his team.
“We need everyone contributing,” Lydon said. “I think everyone did in a positive way. We needed to go out and have a dominating win and just play hard and play our style, and I think we were able to do that tonight.”
Syracuse opens up conference play on the road this Sunday against Boston College.