Finally, the left side of the column has moved after a two-game hiatus. The Syracuse Orange took care of business in arguably the most exciting game of the season, with an 81-76 win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Andrew White III led the way with 27 points, as his hot shooting became contagious.
Tyler Lydon and Taurean Thompson combined for 33 points as the big-man combo worked to perfection from the high post. Lydon got his three going but his passing ability found Thompson open down low and at the high post.
“I was able to find open guys and read what the defense was giving me and play out of it,” Lydon said on his career high five assists. Lydon finished with 15 points and nine rebounds to go along with his five assists, formulating one of his most complete games in Orange.
“He passes it, he shoots it, he’s a defensive player,” coach Jim Boeheim said on Lydon’s performance. “He’s doing everything for us.”
Despite Lydon’s all-around performance, White was the star of the night. His 27 points showcased a career-high 10 free throws, as he used his knock-down shot from both inside and beyond the arc.
His hot shooting was capped off with the game-winning three off of multiple extra passes. A drive from John Gillon led to Lydon finding Tyus Battle who gave it up to White for three. That play should be the first play seen on Syracuse’s season highlights, as great teamwork led to an open look for arguably their best shooter.
“I was excited to see it get around because we had two or three guys who had a relatively good shot,” White said on that game-sealing play. “So to see that swinging around is huge. A late game if you have 20 points you don’t expect to get a wide open look like that.”
White and Lydon weren’t alone as Taurean Thompson came up big with 18 points in 21 minutes. Thompson was in the groove from the beginning as his crafty finishes around the rim complimented his midrange game well—he even banked one in from the high post.
“It was intense,” Thompson said regarding the exhilarating finish. “These kind of games I love, and I’m just glad we got that win.” Thompson came out strong from the start of the second half, scoring seven of the first nine for the Orange.
The next game is against Florida State who are currently ranked sixth in the country. They have a dynamic duo in Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac who combine for 30.7 points per game this season. A win against the Seminoles would be more than a statement. It would be a win the Orange would need to have on their depleted resume if the season has any hope of marching past the regular season.
“We’re playing in the best conference in the country so we’re going to play against good teams every single night,” Tyus Battle said on the upcoming matchup against Florida State. “We’re going to try and take advantage of it and get the win Saturday.” .