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first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ After seeing Tyler Lydon score only two points in Syracuse’s season opener, Jim Boeheim was quick to identify the root of the sophomore’s struggles. Lydon had yet to make a shot in three games behind the arc (including two exhibitions), so the head coach’s remedy was simple: Get closer.“He’s more effective when he’s around the basket,” Boeheim said of Lydon after SU’s win over Colgate last week. “He’s not really getting a lot of looks out there, they’re guarding him.”“… He’s got to get on the offensive boards a little bit better and when he gets it down there, he’s got to finish.”By the end of No. 18 Syracuse’s (2-0) 90-46 dismantling of Holy Cross (0-2), Lydon fulfilled every one Boeheim’s words, sinking 6-of-7 shots and totaling 17 points. The first 10 came in direct vicinity of the basket, punctuating a performance rivaled only by Andrew White’s 19 points.Against Colgate, Lydon’s shooting slump reared just feet in front of the Raiders’ bench, as the sophomore whiffed on a pair of 3s. Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome, Lydon found himself repeatedly in the same spot. But this time, he cut. He drove. He moved. Anything to distance himself from a dismal shooting night, and it worked.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I was trying to get after it on the boards and just play my game,” Lydon said.That meant almost completely abandoning the 3-point shot early, and cheating toward the basket at times against mismatched defenders. It didn’t take long to realize he could easily pierce his way through the Crusaders’ protection, and his first points of the night came on a third-chance play.John Gillon heaved an errant 3-pointer that Tyler Roberson scooped up, and he subsequently missed a short jumper. But there was Lydon, rooted under the basket, standing taller than every defender Holy Cross dispatched to the floor. Lydon elevated and dropped in the basket to equal his production from a game ago, and more importantly, map out a plan to feast inside the rest of the game.Liam Sheehan | Staff PhotographerHe handled a missed alley-oop attempt from Gillon, maintaining the wherewithal to come down with the ball and score on the way back up. He drew a pair of fouls around the hoop, converting on 3-of-4 free-throw attempts. He did almost everything he hadn’t been, and missed only one of his five shots in the first 20 minutes.“He’s going to learn throughout the course of the year,” White said, “when you’re the red X on everybody’s scouting report, you have to be able to find ways to get yourself going. Get cheap buckets and provide what your team needs.”Exiting the tunnel after the halftime, the lone remaining objective for Lydon remained beyond the 3-point arc. He tried only once in the first half, and it was his only shot gone awry. Lydon said last week that his success from deep needed to happen “naturally.” That didn’t mean he couldn’t help himself beforehand, which he did before Syracuse’s Monday practice.Under the watch of assistant coach Adrian Autry, Lydon jogged back and forth between both corners behind the arc. Three team managers shagged rebounds as Lydon consecutively shot a pyramid seven from each corner, meaning he shot and consecutively made seven, six, five, four, three, two and finally one 3 from both spots on the floor.With a solid offensive game already padding is stat line, Lydon’s 3-point work came to quickly fruition in the second half. On a dish from Frank Howard, Lydon heaved a 3 just feet from the far corner he spent most of the time before Monday’s practice in. The shot fell, and Syracuse’s bench rose in celebration.“I’m pretty hard on myself,” Lydon said, “but I try to let it go. I knew my offense was going to come.“… You always think about what happened in the past and you try and move on from it.”If nothing else, that’s what Tuesday’s blowout illustrated: Lydon moved on. Fittingly it was on the day he joined college basketball’s elites on the Wooden Award watch list, and he looked like he belonged. Not only on the list, but as the focal point of Syracuse’s offense. Comments Published on November 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img