Syracuse uses big 2nd half to defeat pesky Cornell 67-46
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) It may not be the only gift he wants but Syracuse coach Mike Hopkins would like a Tyler Roberson action figure under his tree Christmas morning.
''I think we're just going to have to ask for a Tyler Roberson plug-in for Christmas to make sure he's plugged in on every darn day,'' Hopkins said. ''Maybe we can get some high-volt batteries, too.''
Roberson had 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to lead a quartet of double-figure scorers and Syracuse (8-3) to a 67-46 win over pesky Cornell (5-5).
''I think it's the truth,'' Roberson said when told of Hopkins' comment. ''When I'm active, good things happen.''
It was Roberson's second double-double of the season.
Cornell scored six straight points to start the second half for a 32-30 lead but Trevor Cooney and Roberson took over. Cooney, who missed his first five 3-pointers, hit from beyond the arc to give the Orange a 33-32 lead and key an 11-0 run. Cooney hit two more 3s and Roberson had two put-backs and a monster slam as the Orange extended their lead to 57-37 during a run of 27-4.
''He was huge today,'' Cornell coach Bill Courtney said of Roberson. ''The job he did on the offensive glass was a big key for them. We were doing a great defensive job on the first shots but it was the second shots that killed us. He had eight offensive rebounds and did the job today. With their perimeter shooters, he knows there'll be opportunities on the offensive glass. He played his role very well.''
Cooney, a fifth-year senior, said he needs to take it upon himself to maximize Roberson's potential.
''As a leader on this team, I maybe have to do some work to get more out of him. When he's like he is today, we're a better team offensively and defensively,'' Cooney said.
Syracuse hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc in the second half and 48 percent overall to rebound from a poor-shooting first 20 minutes.
Freshman Malachi Richardson had 15 points and eight boards, and Michael Gbinije added 12. Gbinije stuffed the stat sheet with eight assists and seven rebounds. Cooney finished with 10 points.
The Orange had lost three of four since capturing the Battle 4 Atlantis. The loss snapped Cornell's modest two-game winning streak.
Robert Hatter led Cornell with 14 points.
Syracuse, which shot just five of 26 from 3-point range against St. John's, hit just 3 of 13 from beyond the arc en route to a 30-26 halftime lead. The Orange missed their first seven 3s and finished 7 of 21 for the game.
Gbinije led Syracuse with eight points in the opening 20 minutes. Tyler Lydon gave the Orange a spark off the bench with four points, three rebounds and an emphatic block of a Jordan Abdur-Ra'Ooof 3-point attempt.
Cornell had a 10-7 lead when SU went on an 11-2 run to take an 18-12 lead on a Richardson 3-pointer. The Big Red sliced the margin to three on several occasions before the intermission.
Syracuse: The Orange ranks first in the ACC in steals and steals per game. ... Michael Gbinije leads the ACC and Syracuse in 3-point field goals made. ... Gbinije has scored in double digits all 11 games. ... The Orange has failed to reach the NCAA tournament whenever it has lost three non-conference games. ... Malachi Richardson was just seven of 41 from beyond the arc in his last five games prior to Cornell.
Cornell: Robert Hatter earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors after averaging 30.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals against Siena and Lafayette. He has 42 assists compared to 19 all of last season. Cornell had scored at least 76 points in seven of nine games prior to meeting Syracuse.
Syracuse hosts Montana State Tuesday night.
Cornell is home Wednesday against Monmouth.