It’s been a challenging year on the hardwood for Syracuse thus far, with the Orange getting off to a 9-6 start. Likewise, it’s been a strange season for senior Tyler Roberson.
Roberson was expected to be a top performer this season, but that hasn’t always been the case to this point. After 30.8 minutes per game in last year’s Final Four run, Roberson’s minutes have fallen to 19 per game this season.
Roberson hasn’t been in the starting lineup for the Orange since the Wisconsin game in late November. After failing to score against the Badgers, the forward didn’t play more than 25 minutes in any of Syracuse’s next eight games.
Roberson has, however, seen his minutes, and production, tick up in ACC play.
After recording a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in Syracuse’s loss at Boston College on New Year’s Day, the 6-8 senior played 35 minutes against Miami on Jan. 4, making four of five shots for nine points while adding six rebounds.
Many of Roberson’s key offensive numbers are down, including field-goal percentage (50 percent this season after shooting 52.4 percent last season). He is tied for sixth on the Orange roster in scoring at 6.4 points per game. Last season, he averaged 8.8 points per outing.
Roberson’s biggest contribution thus far has been on the boards as he ranks second on the Orange in rebounding, with 76. But those numbers are down, too, as Roberson has dipped from 8.5 RPG last season, to 5.1 this year. So what’s been the issue?
Some of it has been the emergence of freshman power forward Taurean Thompson. The big man is averaging 8.9 PPG with 17 blocked shots, despite playing less than Roberson. Thompson stepped into the starting lineup against Boston College in place of DaJuan Coleman and started both of Syracuse’s first two ACC games.
However, Syracuse fans can only hope that Roberson’s solid performances against Boston College and Miami will ignite the senior into a strong stretch of games this winter in league play. The Orange desperately need Roberson playing well to make a rise in the ACC standings.