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Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu among nation’s leaders in block percentage

Chukwu train comin’ through.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team escaped a close one this weekend in a win over Cornell at the Carrier Dome Saturday night. The night of the Boeheims was deservingly the storyline of the night, but one interesting note is that senior center Paschal Chukwu still hasn’t thrown down a dunk on the season.

To be fair, the 7-foot-2 center has only attempted 12 field goals on the season but he has missed some point blank opportunities around the rim. Perhaps what’s more interesting though is that Chukwu is among the nation’s leaders in block percentage.

Defined as blocks divided by the number of opponents’ two point field goal attempts by Ken Pom, Chukwu is sending back 18.12 percent of twos when he’s in the game. That’s a pretty jarring stat when considering that just about one out of every five two point field goal attempts are getting sent back by the Chukwu train.

“Be more dominant defensively,” Chukwu said of his goal this year back at media day. “(I want) to be more efficient offensive wise and definitely be more dominant defensively.”

2K Empire Classic Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Chukwu is in a seven-way tie for 45th in the nation in blocks per game. He’s averaging 2.12 blocks per contest and has 15 total rejections on the season. The disparity is mostly due to Chukwu’s playing time as he’s only playing 17.4 minutes per game.

He’s blocked at least one shot in every contest he’s played in including Colgate where he only played four minutes due to a groin injury. In the only game Chukwu played more than 20 minutes he recorded 6 blocks (Morehead State). No block was bigger than the one he had in the waning minutes of the game against Ohio State last week that preserved a six point lead (but should have been ruled a goal-tend nonetheless).

Chukwu ranks 19th all-time among Syracuse’s block leaders with 120 rejections. He’ll likely shoot past Otis Hill, Fab Melo, Terrence Roberts and Hakim Warrick shortly as those guys have 122, 123, 127 and 128 blocks, respectively. Etan Thomas is the all-time leader in blocks in Syracuse basketball history with 424 (!).

For Syracuse basketball stories and updates follow James on twitter @JamesSzuba.