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Syracuse basketball stat pack: What Roberson’s efficiency says about him, Orange offense

September 17, 2020

first_imgThe pieces are starting to fall into place for Tyler Roberson. Albeit slowly and in strange ways.Roberson isn’t a better player when he’s injured and on the bench. Syracuse isn’t a better team when its starting forwards, Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough, are in foul trouble. The Orange’s search for a secondary scoring option lasted 11 games — before temporarily ending with Michael Gbinije — and contributed to four nonconference losses.But it’s all had a hand in sticking Roberson in a spot he’s effective in as SU (9-4) prepares to open conference play at Virginia Tech (8-5) at noon on Saturday. Aside from shooting 1-for-6 from the field in Syracuse’s 61-44 win over Cornell on Wednesday night, Roberson was one of the team’s most efficient scorer at the end of nonconference play and has a refined role to thank.The 6-foot-8 forward started the year starting on the wing and, after missing time with a groin injury, is coming off the bench as the Orange’s third big man. It’s allowed him to operate out of the high post but also showcase his scoring ability in the paint, and the results are coming at the right time.“I think it’s a great spot for him because he’s capable of making the 15-foot jumper and scoring down low,” said Dave Boff, Roberson’s high school coach at Roselle (New Jersey) Catholic, in a November interview. “He played in the high post for us, he played in the middle of our offense like he will for Syracuse so I think it’s probably a good spot that he’s comfortable at.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe numbersAfter scoring 10 points on 14 shots against Kennesaw State on opening night, Roberson shot just 37 percent — with one 3-point attempt — in his next three games before missing three out of four contests with a groin injury.He missed Syracuse’s 69-57 loss to St. John’s on Dec. 6, then came back strong against Louisiana Tech a week later. McCullough fouled out and Christmas played just 25 minutes due to foul trouble, which gave Roberson a season-high 33 minutes and he responded with a career-high 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting. In SU’s next game against Villanova, McCullough and Christmas both fouled out and Roberson played 29 minutes, his second most of the season.Roberson shot 5-for-5 from the field and scored 11 points in the overtime loss to the Wildcats. Only two of his makes were from outside of the paint.It was after Roberson returned from injury that SU head coach Jim Boeheim said he is most effective playing alongside McCullough or Christmas — not with both. The shift from wing to forward correlates directly to a spike in his offensive efficiency.First five games primarily playing on the wing: 37 percent shooting, 6.2 points per game, 19 minutes per game.Last five games primarily playing in the post/high post: 53 percent shooting, 8.2 points per game, 24.8 minutes per game.The takeaway While perimeter production is paramount to Syracuse’s offensive success, Roberson’s proven ability to effectively spell Christmas and McCullough is nearly as important.McCullough has started to really struggle physically and, on top of repeatedly getting in foul trouble, has scored 25 points in the last five games after starting the season with eight straight double-digit scoring outputs. Christmas has been steadily dominant heading into conference play, but that only magnifies the need for a reliable forward off the bench as McCullough learns how to fly.Throughout the beginning of the season, it has seemed that the main way to slow down the Orange’s offense is to get Christmas and McCullough off the floor. But if the next player in has been nearly automatic around the rim, that strategy goes out the window and Syracuse gains a much-needed dimension. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 2, 2015 at 4:43 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesselast_img

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