Men's Basketball

Roberson struggles in increased role against High Point

Chase Gaewski | Managing Editor

Tyler Roberson drives through the High Point defense. Roberson didn't make a shot against the Panthers in 11 minutes.

Jim Boeheim blamed his defense for Syracuse’s slow start to the game against High Point on Friday. With a five-day layoff, there was no sense of urgency out of the Orange’s 2-3 zone.

The head coach turned to his bench for a spark. Tyler Roberson jumped up and to the scorer’s table during the first half, an unusual sight in the Carrier Dome.

“He’s been working in practice and we just wanted to get him used to it,” Boeheim said.

Roberson played for 11 minutes during SU’s 75-54 win against the Panthers, but didn’t show his coach much. He missed both of his shot attempts and Boeheim said that the forward “wasn’t really ready.”

“It’s hard when you don’t play for a few games. It’s really hard,” Boeheim said. “Practice isn’t the same thing as games.”

Roberson’s status as the No. 55 recruit in the country made him attractive to most of the nation, but his rare length and athleticism made him specifically appealing to Syracuse. The forward has struggled at times to pick up the Orange’s 2-3, but he’s one of SU’s most talented forwards — even if he is raw.

In recent years, Syracuse has won games on its defense. For the first 20 minutes on Friday, it let HPU hang around during a game it had no business being in.

“We kind of started off slow again first couple minutes, but then we got going,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “We got some stops where we wasn’t making them in the first half.”

Roberson could have been the spark the Orange needed. Instead, he was again a disappointment, although the in-game experience should be beneficial.

Minutes won’t be consistent for Roberson — or fellow freshmen Ron Patterson and B.J. Johnson — so a rare chance to play during the first half of a close game is an important experience for the freshman.

“There just haven’t been opportunities for those freshmen,” Boeheim said. “They haven’t been that impressive in practice to say we’re going to put these guys in there.”

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