Published on December 9, 2016 at 10:45 pm After starting out 4-0, Syracuse (5-3) has lost three of its last four games. In that span the Orange has mustered only 50 points in two different games and changed its starting lineup.Our beat writers Connor Grossman, Matt Schneidman and Paul Schwedelson answer three questions surrounding the Orange.1. How would you assess Syracuse’s new starting lineup with Tyus Battle, and without Tyler Roberson?Connor Grossman: According to Jim Boeheim, “it wasn’t even a decision” to bench Roberson in favor of the freshman. Looking at Roberson’s offensive blackout, it’s hard to disagree. What did Boeheim have to lose? Admittedly, it was a bit of a defensive concession, specifically on the boards. But Andrew White is now playing the 3, a position he’s more comfortable in, and Tyler Lydon is around the basket more on offense as a 4, where Boeheim said he’s more effective offensively. What’s more is Battle, in theory, brings a new jolt of life to Syracuse’s offense. He showed in his starting debut against North Florida with 19 points, and immediately hit a 3 to get SU going early against UConn. There’s not much for the Orange to be overly confident about right now, but I think this lineup is worth sticking with.Matt Schneidman: I definitely agree that Battle brings a spark to this offense, and it’s a spark Syracuse desperately needs. If the Orange was struggling defensively, Jim Boeheim might be better suited to stick with Roberson but like you said Connor, White and Lydon shifting down a spot isn’t hurting the defense. Battle is one of the top two or three 3-point shooters on the team and he’s flashed some promise from deep in the last two games. If he can continue that for the rest of SU’s nonconference schedule, then this is a new lineup Syracuse should eventually reap the benefits of.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor2. What’s gotten into Dajuan Coleman lately? Is everything finally coming together for the big man on both sides of the ball, and can we expect it to continue?C.G.: After losing to South Carolina, Boeheim said his best team was with Lydon at center. Coleman and Paschal Chukwu were “not ready to play at this level.” Specific to Coleman, the response has been remarkable. In the three games since he’s averaged 29 minutes per game after averaging 14 through five games. He’s unveiled somewhat of an unexpected jump shot that he’s always had, he said, but he’s now provided Syracuse with 37 points over the last three games. The capper was a double-double against UConn on Monday when he collected 16 rebounds. I’m not sure it’s reasonable to expect him to keep up with this pace, but it would be a hell of a boost for SU while it sorts out other woes.Paul Schwedelson: I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense to “expect” Coleman’s success to continue since this is the first time in his career that his jumper has been this good. This will be fascinating to track throughout the rest of the nonconference schedule. If it continues into conference play, it’s fair to say I would be shocked. For a player to add an entirely new dimension to his game as a fifth-year senior is rather remarkable. After SU faced South Carolina, Boeheim said he needed to see “something” from Coleman, implying he hadn’t seen anything yet to that point. He’s played extremely well since, but the law of averages says this won’t continue. But this is why we love sports, no?Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor3. Boeheim said SU’s best offensive lineup is with Tyler Lydon at center, not the 3. Now in the new starting lineup, he’s playing the 4. Where does he fit best?M.S.: Lydon, in my opinion, is best as a stretch-4. There, he factors into SU’s best offensive lineup with Frank Howard, Battle, White and Coleman surrounding him. I agree that it doesn’t matter where he as an individual plays on offense because he’s still going to strive to be multi-dimensional even if his shot isn’t falling now. It’s a matter of where his position allows others to slide into the lineup and right now, Lydon playing power forward gives the Orange the best chance to win in terms of where the other four slide in.P.S.: If you were to describe a prototypical stretch-4, you would say a 6-foot-9, 220-pound shooter who could score from anywhere on the court and also grab some occasional rebounds. That’s essentially what Lydon is. His ability to shoot allows SU to space the floor when he plays the 4. When he’s at the 3, he’s not around the basket enough to get rebounds and easy putbacks. One of the most important aspects of Coleman’s breakout has been that he gives SU production from the center position. Without an effective center, Lydon has to be relied upon at that spot. But his natural spot is as a stretch-4. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
This weekend, the women’s volleyball team looks to continue to build off its victories against Oregon and Oregon State as the Trojans face Cal on Friday and Stanford on Sunday. While the Women of Troy are undefeated on the road, their next two games will test if they can get back on track at the Galen Center, where they are 6-6.“I am concerned about playing at home,” head coach Mick Haley said, “because we seem to be able to focus and get organized on the road, but we haven’t done that so far at home.”In order for the Trojans to defeat Cal, they will have to find a way to stop the Bears’ middle blocker Belen Castillo, who led her team to victory with two career-high performances last week.“We think they are playing as well as they have all year,” Haley said. “We think they have found a pretty good lineup that works for them, so we expect a fight with the Bears.”One of the key factors in their response will be freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier, who was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Monday. Leading the team in kills, she brings an excitement to the team with her positive outlook that is infectious.“We keep getting better every week” Lanier said. “During preseason, we were getting better and then we had a little dip, but we are building back again and working hard in the gym and are looking forward to some big upsets.”Part of the effort put in during practice has been towards fighting against the injuries that keep happening with the team. Senior libero Taylor Whittingham is continuing to rehab her knee injury, and the middle blockers are working at staying healthy for games.“We constantly have to manage the injuries, but there is not a standard plan,” Haley said. “You take each one as an individual and see what you can do to help them get ready as fast as they can and just be patient.”The Trojans will have all their starters for the Cal game, Whittingham included. She has been continuing to make plays as the staple of their defense, despite focusing much of practice on rehab.“Everyone is doing everything they can in order to get ready and my hat is off to them,” Haley said. “It is so important when you can have all 15 players adding great value to the group effort.”With two more home games following after this weekend, the Trojans look to start off strong with a victory to give them momentum toward their next games. They will face Cal on Friday at 6 p.m. and Stanford on Sunday at 2:2 p.m. at the Galen Center.
“It’s always good to get results,” said Kershaw, who allowed a total of 15 runs in four spring training starts and only one on Saturday. “This one counted finally, so I’m thankful that I wasn’t giving up any runs and got spring training over with. “Obviously spring training I try not to give up runs either, but sometimes I need the adrenaline of a regular season game. I feel relieved to get this under my belt.”The 160-year-old SCG was a gracious host. Its peculiar quirks provided a picturesque Opening Day backdrop: A massive digital video board interrupting the stands in foul territory on the third-base side of the park; on the opposite side, a spired 19th-century grandstand with a green roof and a clock tower.More relevant to the game, the dimensions of the makeshift outfield were the difference between a one-run game and a three-run lead for Kershaw — practically a plush feathered cushion for the reigning National League Cy Young award winner.With the Dodgers leading 1-0 in the fourth inning and Adrian Gonzalez on first base, Van Slyke curled a low line drive inside the right-field foul pole. The ball had a slim margin for error, less than 10 feet from sailing foul or clanging off the temporary fence for a likely double. Instead it landed in the teal plastic seats just behind the 328-foot marker down the line to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. SYDNEY, Australia >> The air was warm and slightly humid when Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley delivered the first pitch of the season to Yasiel Puig at 8 p.m. Saturday night. It was typical East Coast weather, if not the typical East Coast. A couple hours earlier, a distant clap of thunder interrupted the Dodgers’ batting practice and delayed the game’s first pitch by 14 minutes. The announced crowd of 38,266 at Sydney Cricket Ground sat through a brief autumn shower, then was treated to a very typical game of baseball.For the Dodgers, it was a Fall Classic.Clayton Kershaw was dominant. Scott Van Slyke had the hottest bat on the continent. The dream of a 162-0 season was still alive and well while most of the Pacific time zone slept through a 3-1 Dodgers victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. “I thought it was either going to be foul or caught,” Van Slyke said. “I didn’t think it had a chance to go out.”Van Slyke nearly gave the outfield denizens their first souvenir in the second inning. Gonzalez, the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter, walked to lead off the inning. Van Slyke appeared to get all of the third pitch he saw from Miley, clubbing the ball high into the thick, swirling air to left field. A strong headwind knocked down the ball, which still managed to reach the wall — several feet away from leaping left fielder Mark Trumbo.“I gave Davey (Lopes, the Dodgers’ first-base coach) a high-five and looked up and the ball was coming into play,” Van Slyke said.“I think we all did” think it was a home run, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “I think everybody in the stadium did, Mark Trumbo obviously did. (Diamondbacks catcher) Miguel Montero thought that ball was going to be 100 feet past the wall.”Gonzalez went from first to third as Van Slyke settled for a double. After Juan Uribe struck out, Andre Ethier pulled a ground ball to the left of Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill. Hill’s only play was to first base, and Gonzalez scored on the RBI groundout.That was the entirety of the Dodgers’ offense against the left-hander Miley, who replaced injured teammate Patrick Corbin last week. Miley allowed only three hits in five innings — the double and home run by Van Slyke, and a single by Justin Turner in the fifth inning.Kershaw was a bit better in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed five hits, one run, walked one and struck out seven batters. Making his fourth straight Opening Day start, Kershaw’s only critical mistake was a double by Paul Goldschmidt in the bottom of the sixth inning. Goldschmidt went to third base on Kershaw’s only wild pitch of the evening, a slider in the dirt, then scored on a groundout to second base by Trumbo.The Diamondbacks couldn’t take advantage of their only other real threat in the first inning. They had runners on first and second with one out against Kershaw, but consecutive groundouts by Martin Prado and Trumbo ended the inning.“I threw my slider quite a bit tonight. A.J. does a great job back there. The only time I shook him off tonight I gave up a hit” — a single by Montero in the fourth inning, Kershaw said — “so I stopped doing that.”Chris Perez retired the final batter of the seventh inning in his Dodgers debut. Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two batters, and Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save — a perfectly scripted finish for the Dodgers’ $30 million bullpen.The two teams have less than 24 hours before returning here for a rematch. Hyun-Jin Ryu will face Arizona right-hander Trevor Cahill at 1 p.m. local time Sunday — 7 p.m. Pacific Time tonight — before flying back to North America after the game.SEE BOX SCORE | FOLLOW THE INSIDE THE DODGERS BLOG Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error