Tyler Roberson looks to rebound against North Carolina State

first_imgLogan Reidsma | Staff Photographer Facebook Twitter Google+ Jim Boeheim clapped his hands two times as Tyler Roberson walked slowly off the court. Trevor Cooney jogged slowly next to him. The two met their head coach, one on each side, but Boeheim only stuck out his right hand to high-five Cooney and gave no physical acknowledgement to Roberson.There was 9:50 left and SU trailed by two to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Roberson had recorded no points and collected just three rebounds despite playing 21 minutes.“If I had anybody else he wouldn’t play a minute,” Boeheim said. “Not a minute.”Roberson, who collected 14 points and 20 rebounds against then-No. 20 Duke nearly a month before his worst showing of the season against Pittsburgh, wasn’t the aggressive presence he’s been known for much of this year. He didn’t use open space to attack the rim on offense, and wasn’t all over the glass like his 8.5 rebounds per game suggests he typically is.Syracuse (18-10, 8-7 Atlantic Coast) and Roberson face North Carolina State (14-14, 4-11) at 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. And, like Pittsburgh, the Wolfpack score most of its points on the interior and has one of the best offensive rebounding rates in the country.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnother game, another challenge directed Roberson’s way.“I think I played hard. I don’t know, the past few games haven’t been going my way,” Roberson said after the Pittsburgh game. “All I can really control is playing hard and trying to help the team win. And I think deep down, I’ve been trying to do that.” Boeheim said Roberson is getting the same looks as Tyler Lydon. But Lydon has scored 20 or more in two of the past three games, while Roberson has five total points in his last two games. He’s dribbling sideways even though he’s not being guarded, Boeheim said, and added that it’s his job as a coach to make Roberson play as aggressively as he was during that five-game stretch.When Mike Hopkins was serving as the interim head coach during Boeheim’s suspension earlier this season, he said sometimes SU gets a “plugged-in” Roberson and sometimes they don’t. But it’s hard to tell when that will happen.“If Tyler Roberson is going to play, he’s got to get us some points or rebounds,” Boeheim said. “… You can’t have a junior be in the program and play all the time and you get to your junior year and score. You can’t win that way.”Roberson’s normally quiet, but he spoke so softly after Saturday’s loss to Pittsburgh that it was almost impossible to hear at times. When asked about Boeheim saying he wouldn’t play a minute, he whispered, “that’s what he thinks.” When asked what he can do going forward he said, “just keep working.”He didn’t say much, but his insistence that nothing is different contrasts the belief of his head coach and even some teammates.Said Roberson: “I think I’ve been doing the same thing I’ve been doing every game.” Commentscenter_img Published on February 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Roberson scored in double figures in five straight games that ended with his dominant performance at Duke on Jan. 18. During that stretch, he also averaged 11.2 rebounds. But in the eight games since, he’s scored in double figures just once and averaged seven rebounds. His struggles have been tangible, but also hard for him to explain.When he caught the ball with space on the baseline early in the first half against Pitt, he didn’t attack the rim. Instead he dribbled to his right and dumped it off to Cooney, who was defended. When Cooney fed it right back to him, he hesitated before penetrating toward the basket and missed a contested shot that was his only attempt of the afternoon.“I thought he had some chances to go and be aggressive,” Cooney said. “He’s done that at times this year. I don’t know. He’s a big part of us offensively and defensively. If you look at the games when he’s aggressive and rebounds and makes plays, we’re a better team. I think he knows that. I think everyone knows that.”last_img read more