What we learned from Syracuse’s 66-62 comeback win over No. 9 Virginia

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The sophomore scored only six points, but his defensive contributions proved pivotal as he racked up six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Boeheim has previously said Lydon is one of the best defensive centers he’s coached and it was on full display as he owned the inside against Virginia, which scored 20 of its 62 points in the paint.“Tyler Lydon didn’t score a bunch, but I tell you what, defensively, down there, he was tremendous, really tremendous,” Boeheim said. “He was playing two guys. We were so concerned about their shooters, we wanted to stay out and that opened up the middle. He was two-on-one in there a lot.” Comments Syracuse picked up another monstrous win Saturday afternoon by knocking off No. 9 Virginia (17-5, 7-3 Atlantic Coast), 66-62, in the Carrier Dome. The Orange (15-9, 7-4) picked up its second Top 10 win within a week, catapulting it among the hottest teams in college basketball. The win was unofficially head coach Jim Boeheim’s 1,000th, though it can’t be recognized by the school.Here’s what we learned from the game.Syracuse’s halftime adjustment was to drive moreIn the first half, Syracuse scored just 22 points while also converting just 3-of-12 from behind the arc. Virginia’s ball-screen defense is predicated on shutting off the middle of the floor by having the player who defends the screener peel off and close the driving lane. That essentially creates a double team momentarily and could potentially trip up the ball-handler.“It was tough for me to get in the lane,” point guard John Gillon said, “because of how the help was set up and then also how they hedged really hard.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the second half, Boeheim had his team drive to the basket more. After halftime, the Orange attempted just six 3s. That was because SU attacked with the dribble more. The head coach pointed out that Andrew White has improved his driving. He and Tyus Battle combined for 46 points and only 18 of those came from behind the arc.UVA’s defense ranks first in the country with 53.4 points allowed per game. But Boeheim adjusted his offensive approach in order to crack that and Syracuse scored 44 second-half points.“Just try to drive. You can’t screen. They help, they do too much stuff,” Boeheim said. “You have to open it up, you have to drive. They’ll help but they won’t come completely off the 3-point shooters. We were able to get into the lane.”Tyus Battle keeps getting betterThree weeks ago, Boeheim said Battle had his best game of the year, a 21-point performance in a blowout win against Boston College. He’s continued his progression as he keeps playing better and better. That continued on Saturday as Battle topped the BC game with a career-high 23 against Virginia.Battle continued driving to the basket effectively, something he’s excelled at throughout conference play. On multiple occasions, Battle hit a shot as the shot clock wound down, serving as a pivotal bail out for an offense that stalled every now and then.“Usually I know I can beat my man,” Battle said, “but it’s just reading the second line and seeing if I can kick out or get to the basket, try and draw a foul.”At center, Tyler Lydon can defend two players at onceVirginia entered the game shooting an ACC-leading 41.9 percent from behind the arc in conference games. UVA’s two best offensive weapons to beat the zone, Boeheim said, were Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. The duo combined to go 7-of-11 on 3-pointers against Syracuse. Because Boeheim was aware of the shooters, SU’s wings pressed out on the perimeter. That left Lydon at center to try and defend the two players the Cavaliers planted down low.MORE COVERAGETyus Battle scores career-high 23 points in Syracuse’s 66-62 upset win against No. 9 VirginiaBoeheim’s 1,000th* win brings importance to a once-lost seasonJim Boeheim on unofficial 1,000 wins: ‘I know how many wins I’ve had’Gallery: Syracuse beats No. 9 Virginia, 66-62center_img Published on February 4, 2017 at 5:07 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschwedslast_img

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