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2016 NCAA Tournament: For Tyler Lydon, It's Gotta (Not) Be the Shoes

Was any storyline from yesterday more meant for this site to cover?

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

You had PTSD for a hot second on Sunday, don't lie.

With around two and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Syracuse Orange forward Tyler Lydon lost one of his shoes during an SU offensive possession. Michael Gbinije, already infamous for losing his own shoe against Dayton (and picking it up) back in 2014, grabbed Lydon's shoe mid-dribble and tossed it aside. The terror on my face probably matched yours. Syracuse was already down 12. Why are things like this happening?

Shortly thereafter, Gbinije passed the ball over to Lydon, who drilled a three to cut the Virginia Cavaliers' lead to nine. It was his first basket in three attempts.

From that point on, the freshman would hit two more threes, bury two free throws in the closing seconds, grab six rebounds and tally all five of his blocks. Of course, he put his shoe back on at the next timeout, which came shortly after the three. But the precedent had been established by that clutch shot: "It's Gotta (Not) Be the Shoes."

While the wished-for rallying cry of the team coming out of halftime with one shoe never came to fruition in practice, it did sort of come true in spirit for this Syracuse team. Lydon (and Rico) weren't so afraid of something stupid like that happening that it messed up his ability to hit that shot. Far from it. The frosh nailed it, and even if it took another 14 game minutes to transfer some of that confidence over to the rest of the team, it did get there eventually. And as covered, Lydon himself experienced all the benefits too, by putting in his best work following the "wardrobe malfunction." I mean, it even spawned a Twitter account already.


So that explains what propelled Lydon. We can only assume that Malachi Richardson took "Michael's Secret Stuff" to fuel his late takeover that gave Syracuse the lead for good. I mean, how else can you explain those final minutes for him?