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Tyler Lydon makes his mark in Syracuse’s upset win over Duke

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Don’t look at his first half, Tyler Lydon’s second half is the player he truly is.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse
Tyler Lydon’s offensive involvement in the second helped the Orange pull away.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Even if he wasn’t THE hero, Tyler Lydon made his impact known all over the court against Duke the way he knows best — through fundamentals and smart plays. Lydon got off to a slow start in the first half as the mismatch he had inside wasn’t utilized as often as it could have.

Duke was switching pick-and-rolls all night, allowing Lydon to have a massive size advantage in the paint. Unfortunately, the Syracuse Orange guards failed to get Lydon the ball throughout the first half. Lydon finished the first 20 minutes with two points on just two shots.

The second half? That was a different story.

Lydon came out a different player in the second half as the Orange’s first play was drawn up to be a backdoor alley-oop for Lydon — it turned into a turnover. Despite the failed execution, Lydon came down the next possession and hit a deep three to get the comeback started.

Lydon’s second half performance changed the pace of the game as his ability simply touching the ball early in the shot clock allowed the Orange to get the ball moving. The Orange play sloppy when they play isolation basketball, but as seen in the second half, when the ball is moving and shooters are hot, this team is hard to beat.

“I think it just came down to our offense clicking at the end,” Lydon said on the difference for Syracuse in the second half. “We were able to score, which we were doing in the first half, so it was big for us to get stops at the very end.”

A key play for Lydon was his basket in the post over Grayson Allen down the stretch. Allen had four fouls in the situation so he had to play conservative which allowed Lydon to go to work. His quick move got Allen to jump causing Lydon to get an easy look at the rim tying the game.

Lydon’s impact on the offense was put on display in the second half. The ball stays stagnant when Lydon isn’t involved in the offense — just look at what happened in the first half. When Lydon is a focal-point of the offense, Syracuse finds open looks and opportunities to get to the rim.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse
It’s winning time for Tyler Lydon and the Syracuse Orange.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s simple: Get Lydon the ball and let him make plays. If the Orange want to build momentum after this win they are going to need the second half version of Tyler Lydon we all saw against Duke.

SU can’t stop here just because they beat their third top 10 team of the season. This team has shown inconsistency all year long, but it’s winning time and the Orange need to win in order to keep building their resume. Even if the Duke victory “seals” their ticket to the tournament (maybe), the work’s not over.

“Absolutely not,” Lydon said on if the pressure is off the team after beating Duke. “Like I said before, every game is extremely important to us.”