Roberson, McCullough look to find consistency for Syracuse ahead of Florida State matchup

first_img Published on January 10, 2015 at 11:39 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Neither player’s contributions come consistently enough.Tyler Roberson is Syracuse’s rebounding menace off the bench one night and largely absent the next. Chris McCullough was one of the best freshmen in the country for much of nonconference play. After a series of passive appearances he’s regained his aggression but is trying to translate it into points.Both have played some of their best basketball in place of one another at the No. 4 spot for the Orange, and as SU (11-4, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) takes on Florida State (9-6, 1-1) at 8 p.m. on Sunday the two forwards will try to add consistency to their games. While the frontcourt has been Syracuse’s strength, improvement from Roberson and McCullough would give Rakeem Christmas a more complete partner in the post.“Chris started out great. He played great, great,” Jim Boeheim said after SU’s 46-45 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday. “Now we can’t get him to play bad. We’d like to get him to play bad. That would be a step up from where we are.“And Tyler gets 17 rebounds (against Virginia Tech), and tonight he’s — he was nowhere to be found. In a key possession, Rak’s open in the post and he’s dribbling the ball off his leg. I mean, we just can’t play like this and be successful.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRoberson’s only sporadically contributed in terms of scoring but he’s had breakout performances on the boards.His 17 rebounds against Virginia Tech on Jan. 3 helped prevent Syracuse from blowing a 19-point halftime lead. But it was by far his best performance in three weeks. He followed it up with an invisible showing against Georgia Tech where he only got off three shots and logged four rebounds in 20 minutes.With 7:46 left in the game against the Yellow Jackets, Roberson spoiled an SU breakaway by hanging on the rim, drawing an offensive interference call.“I’ve been coaching for 39 years and I’ve never had a player just go grab the rim like that,” Boeheim said. “I mean, what are you thinking? You’re not.”Roberson said he thought he played similarly to other performances and that more complete showings were just a matter of playing through off games.“Just to rebound, play hard and everything else will come like scoring and everything,” Roberson said of what Boeheim’s asking of him and McCullough. “So just try to do that and let the other stuff come to me.”After averaging 14.4 points per game through SU’s 69-57 loss to St. John’s on Dec. 6, McCullough has tailed off to producing just 4.3 points per game. He’s scored 30 total points since then.McCullough and teammates had said that he needed to be more aggressive. Against Georgia Tech he consistently called for the ball and looked for shots.When he was subbed out for Roberson with 12:37 left in Wednesday’s game — he banged his left knee but said afterward he was fine — he was a couple possessions removed from driving from the free-throw line and pushing in a shot that gave the Orange a 32-30 lead.He sat until coming for Roberson with 1:23 left in the game.“I’m transitioning still. I should be good,” McCullough. “I’m looking for my shot and being aggressive now. Shots just wasn’t falling today.”Both McCullough and Roberson have found ways to contribute, just not consistently or often enough in terms of scoring.“I think he’s doing a good job of contesting shots and rebounding,” SU forward Michael Gbinije said of McCullough. “And the 3 that they missed toward the end, he was up with the guards contesting that shot. So I think the offense will come along with Chris.“And T-Ro, he’s an unbelievable rebounder. I don’t know what his stats were (Wednesday), but he’s definitely going to be key for us down the road.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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