Lydon’s 20 points helps Syracuse beat Boston College 75-61
BOSTON (AP) — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim couldn’t believe all the orange-wearing fans he saw when he looked into the stands.
His team went out and gave them plenty to cheer about.
Freshman Tyler Lydon scored 10 of his season-high 20 points during a game-breaking run midway into the second half, carrying Syracuse past Boston College 75-61 on Sunday for its fifth straight win.
“I noticed it early,” Boeheim said of the crowd. “You shouldn’t be thinking about those things anyway. Then when I looked around, there had to be like 6,000 Syracuse fans here today. It was a great show. They follow us everywhere we go. If they can get tickets they show.”
There were numerous fans clad in orange throughout Conte Forum, appearing to make up about two-thirds of the 8,606 attendance. Chants of “Let’s Go Orange!” broke out on a handful of occasions, becoming especially loud during key runs.
At times, BC’s bench had to get up and cheer timely plays by their teammates, making it strangely look like a road atmosphere for the home team.
Michael Gbinije scored 17 points, Malachi Richardson had 15 points and Trevor Cooney added 12 for the Orange (18-8, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Freshman Matt Milon led Boston College (7-18, 0-12) with a season-high 25 points. Dennis Clifford added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles, who lost their 12th straight — all in league play.
The Eagles opened the second half by scoring nine of the initial 13 points to take their first lead since early in the game, 41-39, on Clifford’s 3-point play with 15:44 left.
But Lydon and Richardson both hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 21-4 stretch that helped Syracuse take charge. Lydon capped the spree with consecutive transition 3s just 15 seconds apart. He also had a layup and two free throws in the stretch.
“We should try to get it to him every time if we can in transition,” Boeheim said before joking about Lydon shooting at the end of fastbreaks. “It’s a pretty good offensive play — throw the 6-10 guy the ball and let him shoot it.”
BC never made a serious threat in the final 10 minutes.
“When we took the lead, that’s just our guys giving into fatigue,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “You can feel sorry that we don’t have a lot of guys and we have two guys over there hurt, but the guys that were playing, that game’s in the balance and you’ve got to become mentally tougher to get over that.”
Syracuse used a 13-0 run midway into the first half to lead 21-11 before BC started riding the hot shooting of Milon to climb back.
The Eagles responded by scoring nine of 11 points late in the half before Cooney’s put-back at the buzzer gave the Orange a 35-32 edge at intermission. BC’s players appeared to be in position to grab the rebound, but paused when the shot clock buzzer went off just before the horn, signaling halftime.
Milon was 6 for 7 from the field in the opening half, nailing all four of his 3-point attempts.
Syracuse: The Orange entered with the best 3-point defense in the conference, holding teams to 29.9 percent. BC was 9 of 19 (47.4 percent).
Boston College: Milon’s previous high was 16, against Harvard on Nov. 22. ... Freshman starters A.J. Turner (sprained right ankle) and Jerome Robinson (broken right wrist) were both sidelined. ... The Eagles entered scoring just 61.7 points per game, the fewest in the conference.
Lydon was 8 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. “I practice that a lot,” he said. “We definitely focus on that a little knowing I can shoot it and stretch the floor.”
The Orange appear to be hitting their stride. Since losing their first four ACC games, they’ve won eight of nine.
“A lot better place,” Cooney said when asked about the team’s mindset. “It all comes down to winning games and we’re winning games now.”
The Eagles have lost all but one conference game by double digits.
Syracuse: At No. 13 Louisville on Wednesday.
Boston College: At Clemson on Wednesday.