For a while in the first-half, all of the fears Syracuse Orange fans had about this team seemed to be coming alive. The team was shooting miserably while Dayton was hitting threes and outworking SU. Compare that to the second-half where Syracuse dominated the Flyers with a 26-5 run and ended up cruising to a 70-51 victory in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney had their moments, as they're expected to. But today was the unveiling of The Richardson & Roberson Show, a program we hope to see again. Malachi Richardson took the ball and ran with it, often scoring at-will and providing the spark his teammates needed. Richardson finished with 21 points, though he did foul out. He was simply so involved that he couldn't help it.
Meanwhile, the Tyler Roberson rebounding machine returned as the junior finished with an impressive 18 rebounds, one short of the SU tournament record. He also included three steals and 10 points as well, making for his sixth double-double. His alley-oop slam with two minutes left was an exclamation mark on a huge day.
Gbinije finished with 10 points, Cooney added 13 and Tyler Lydon scored 14.
As it sometimes does, the 2-3 zone defense came alive in an NCAA Tournament game. While the Flyers seemed to have it figured out early, the Orange clamped down and completely stymied Dayton when it mattered. By the time the Flyers got it together, it was too late.
The win not only earns a modicum of revenge for the Orange over the loss to Dayton two years ago, but it also made a strong statement to the rest of the nation that SU deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament.
The Orange now wait til find out if they get the mighty Michigan State Spartains in the second round. Regardless, they'll play on Sunday.
More to come but leave your initial comments below. G'ORANGE!