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Tyler Roberson brings improved offensive game to No. 13 Virginia

first_img Published on January 20, 2016 at 9:41 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Last season, Syracuse’s offense revolved around center Rakeem Christmas in the post and Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije on the perimeter. It was a familiar sight for Roberson to be open at the top of the key, defenses daring him to shoot but his instincts forcing him to hesitate. The recurring result: Jab step against a phantom defender, pump fake against a phantom defender, missed shot clanking off the rim.SU’s offense functions in a similar way this season, with a game plan rooted in 3-pointers and high pick-and-rolls. When Roberson is on the floor with Gbinije, Cooney, Malachi Richardson and stretch forward Tyler Lydon, he becomes the player that defenses sag off of. But instead of stuttering with the ball in his hands, Roberson has made quick decisions to shoot, attack the rim or kick out to shooters.According to Hoop-Math.com, Roberson has 30 unassisted field goals at the rim this season and 37.2 percent of his shot attempts have been mid-range jumpers. He had 25 unassisted makes at the rim all of last season, and shot 27.5 from midrange. Then consider his 15.8 offensive rebounding percentage, the 21st best in the country and second best in the ACC according to Kenpom.com, which combines effort with skill to form a dangerous offensive big.“I think once he started to understand that we want him to take (shots) in rhythm and we want him to take those shots, we had the confidence in him and I think he has the confidence in himself,” Cooney said. “… They really have to come up there and respect him and he can go by and make plays and find shooters or just dunk the ball really.”Three straight ACC wins have Syracuse back in the thick of the conference standings, but no team has beaten Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena this season. The key to doing so rests in the middle of the Cavaliers near-impenetrable defense, where Roberson will find himself on Sunday night.Whether he shuts down or shows up is anyone’s guess, but his season is surely trending toward the latter.“Well he’s got opportunities, he’s got to take them when they’re there and he does have opportunities,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said on Jan. 11. “He’s just got to figure out where they are.” Comments Related Stories Syracuse basketball roundtable: Rebounding, X-factors and the bubble watchTyler Roberson has historic rebounding night at Cameron Indoor StadiumTyler Lydon increases inside presence heading into matchup with UVASyracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about No. 13 Virginia Of all of Tyler Roberson’s tangible gifts — a visceral nose for the basketball and ability to leap out of any gym, to name two — it’s the intangibles that turn the often temperamental forward into a serious problem for opposing teams.A will to go after every loose ball with equal tenacity led him to 20 rebounds (a Cameron Indoor Stadium record for a visiting player), 12 of which were offensive (tied for a Syracuse record), in the Orange’s win at No. 20 Duke on Monday. A developed confidence in his own mid-range jump shot turned into a 5-for-5 shooting performance in a loss to North Carolina on Jan. 9. He’s continued asserting himself into SU’s offense by averaging 13 shots in the last two games, compared to his 7.7 shots per game in previous contests.Roberson’s scored in double figures in each of the last five contests after not scoring 10-plus points in back-to-back games all season. He’s collected a double-double, with points and rebounds, in the last three. Next, the surging Orange (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) travels to face No. 13 Virginia (14-4, 3-3) and its airtight pack-line defense at 7 p.m. on Sunday, and Roberson could again make all the difference.The Cavaliers give up 61.2 points per game, making it the second best defense in the ACC and 10th best in the country by that measure, and their man-to-man defense is built to take just about everything away. But there are ways to crack it, and a good offensive rebounder, pick-and-roll option and mid-range threat is a good start.Enter Roberson, whose toughest opponent remains himself.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It comes down to me just going after it every night. I know I can, and I think I’ve proven I can.” Roberson said after SU beat Boston College on Jan. 13. “… I just have to be aggressive going forward. I know if I have an opportunity to shoot or drive I should take it, and playing aggressively, that’s when good things happen.”center_img Facebook Twitter Google+ James McCann | Contributing Photographerlast_img read more

Gabriela Knutson clinches upset for No. 34 Syracuse, 4-3, over No. 3 Georgia Tech

first_imgNo. 9 Gabriela Knutson stared at the ball knowing everyone was watching her. She scanned the scene before her final serve. Knutson was in charge of clinching the match for Syracuse — a position she had never been in during her tennis career at SU, she said. But this wasn’t any other match. It was against No. 3 Georgia Tech. Knutson raised her arm and threw the ball into the air. Up 40-0, she smashed the serve straight down the middle of the court past the outstretched arms of No. 22 Paige Hourigan. Players from Syracuse jolted onto the court, jumping with their arms in the air. The crowd at Drumlins Country Club erupted. Dina Hegab was the first to embrace Knutson as the team followed and linked arms with elation. As the coaches walked over to the crowd of players celebrating, Knutson threw her hands into the air and started to tear up. At that moment, Knutson had not known what she had done for SU’s tennis program, she said, but she knew it was something special. “It makes everything I do worthwhile,” Knutson said, “Not sleeping, traveling, just waking up at 6 a.m. to go to practice. It makes everything worthwhile when you have that kind of support from your teammates to win the match.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNo. 34 Syracuse (14-3, 6-3 Atlantic Coast), who failed to close two matches earlier this season against Virginia and then-No. 16 Wake Forest in the final moments, did the almost unthinkable on Sunday and beat No. 3 Georgia Tech (14-4, 6-2), 4-3. The Yellow Jackets are the highest-ranked opponent SU has ever beaten. While some players, like Hegab, knew GT was a top-five opponent, Knutson made it a point of emphasis to not know the rankings before Sunday’s match. On Sunday morning, assistant athletics director William Hicks shot Knutson a text. It said, “This is why you work so hard, kick ass.”Despite the tall task, the Orange started the match with strong doubles play in the first and third slot. No. 37 Knutson and Miranda Ramirez dominated No. 1 Hourigan and Kenya Jones from the jump, taking a 5-0 lead at one point, en route to a 6-2 victory. With GT winning second doubles, Hegab and Masha Tritou faced off late crowd pressure to clinch the doubles point, 7-5, for SU. After Sofya Golubovskaya dropped her singles match, Syracuse led 3-2 with Anna Shkudun on the way to a loss. Knutson, who was on the opposite side of the courts, looked over to Golubovskaya’s match in between points. “I kept looking at the scoreboard,” Knutson said, “so when I saw that (Golubovskaya) lost I was like ‘Oh no, please no.’ I knew it was up to me.”Knutson opened her match by taking two of the first three games with three aces but fell behind after that. After a 2-1 lead, Knutson dropped seven consecutive games en route to losing the first set, 2-6, but blamed the early struggles on her mindset.After falling behind 0-2 in the second set, something clicked for Knutson. She stopped taking soft shots and began to hit aggressive forehands, she said.Knutson opened the third game of the set with two aces and never looked back, she said. Up a break, Knutson hit a forehand slice to the endline and past the arms of Hourigan. Hourigan fell to the ground, visibly shaken up, and began to yell at herself. Behind six-straight games won, Knutson forced the match to a third set. Knutson could not capitalize early in the third; she fell behind 0-3, down a break. Going into the fourth game in the third set, Golubovskaya’s match ended and everyone’s attention focused on the first singles match. “Sometimes it’s too much,” Knutson said. “Everyone rushed on (my) court and everyone was cheering. I’m like ‘I can’t think or breath.’”Down 1-3, associate head coach Shelley George began to shout in the direction of Knutson. “You got this, right here, right now,” George yelled. At 40-40, Hourigan’s backhand floated long and Knutson let out a holler and a fist pump. She ran to the bench and met with George.At 2-3, Knutson caught Hourigan off her feet to go up 40-15. After Hourigan shook off the slide, Knutson drilled an ace down the middle to level the set at 3-3. Hegab and the rest of SU’s players moved from their individual spots to cheer on Knutson.“Watching someone makes you even more nervous than actually playing,” Hegab said, “That’s how I felt today.”At 4-4 in the third, Knutson saw three-consecutive forehand winners go up the line as Hourigan went up 40-0. Knutson looked in the direction of George, who motioned her hands up and down to calm her down. After the exchange, Knutson flashed a smile and forced three-straight errors to tie it at 40-40. With the match’s most-important point pending, Knutson looked at George for assurance. Knutson fought off a strong serve from Hourigan and forced a fourth-straight error to take the game. She fist pumped as the crowd cheered her on. After the winner, Knutson had a feeling that she was going to win the match. “I knew this was my court,” Knutson said, “This is where I train every day, I was not about the lose the match (at 5-4 in the third set). It was mine.”Knutson then drilled four-straight winners to defeat Hourigan and clinch the match for SU. Head coach Younes Limam, who stood in his place after Knutson’s game-winning ace, said the end of the match commotion was more “relief” than joy for him. When the celebration ended, Knutson made it a point of emphasis to approach Hicks. He grabbed Knutson by the arm with a big smile on his face. “I knew you could do it,” Hicks said to Knutson a couple of minutes after the match, “I told you that you could do it earlier.”After the match, Knutson put the win into perspective: “It gives us the confidence to continue this season. I don’t think we’re underdogs anymore.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm Contact KJ: kjedelma@syr.edu | @KJEdelmanlast_img read more

Shaleah Colaire ran her first collegiate race. She’s only getting started.

first_imgShaleah Colaire strolled into Manley Field House surrounded by her teammates as if she’d known them for years. The freshman sprinter from Ontario seemed at home, as if the transition from high school to collegiate athletics was just another hurdle to jump.Before her first-ever collegiate race, Colaire was both nervous and excited. When the 60-meter hurdles at the Greg Page Relays had ended, Colaire found herself in first place with a personal-best time of 8.54, the ninth-fastest time of any Atlantic Coast Conference runner this season. A month later, at the Southern Tier Collegiate Open, she won again, finishing with a time of 8.76 and exciting SU’s coaching staff.  “Usually, for freshman,” assistant coach Dave Hegland said. “If they can come in and get back to where they were as high school seniors after the whole transition to being college students, that’s a good year.”But, with success comes pressure. While Colaire’s goal is to “run fast all the time,” she knows that she has set high expectations with her undefeated start. “I’m a freshman and so being on top is kind of like okay, I don’t know how everyone else is going to feel about that,” Colaire said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textColaire said the first two meets have reminded her of “high school meets.” During Colaire’s senior year at St. Mary’s Catholic (Ontario), the sprinter won the 100-meter hurdles at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations Provincial Championships. It’s not uncommon for a freshman like Colaire to come in and help the team immediately, Hegland said. She’s one of four freshmen — along with Kate Kemnitz, Aja Davis and Dennisha Page — to hold team-best times in 2020. While many of Colaire’s teammates have yet to run their primary races or events, Colaire’s victories have motivated the team and everyone is happy for her, Hegland said. She’s a really competitive kid she wants to do a lot, she’s got big goals for herself. She should be a really big part of what we do.- Assistant coach Dave Hegland on Shaleah ColaireThough her main event is hurdles, Colaire also runs the 4×400-meter relay. Colaire, the only underclassman in SU’s group, assisted the Orange in a relay victory at the Southern Tier Collegiate Open. Because of Colaire’s versatility, Hegland said she projects to be a key contributor to the team’s success this season and for the rest of her collegiate career.“She’s a really competitive kid, she wants to do a lot, she’s got big goals for herself,” Hegland said. “She should be a really big part of what we do.”Colaire will have an opportunity to meet the high standards she’s set for herself when Syracuse’s track and field team splits up, racing in New York, Boston and Ithaca this weekend. Colaire and Hegland both said the meets starting on Jan. 24 feature tougher competition. Still, Colaire remains confident in her skills and ability to sustain her success.“I know I can hurdle and I know I can do my best out there,” Colaire said before a Jan. 17 practice, “I know what I need to do before the race and I know how I’m going to execute it.” Hegland said the upcoming meets will give him an opportunity to gauge his roster’s ability against better opponents. Regardless of the competition, Colaire is always trying to run a personal best, she said.“I want to keep my form and make the standard for Canadian nationals and Junior Olympics,” Colaire said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 21, 2020 at 10:23 pm Contact Skyler: skrivera@syr.edu | @skylerriveraalast_img read more