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Syracuse basketball forward Elijah Hughes becomes leading scorer in ACC

Elijah Hughes passes Jordan Nwora as leading scorer in the ACC

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team departed from South Bend, Indiana, with a victory over Notre Dame in hand, junior forward Elijah Hughes became the leading scorer in the ACC.

Hughes, who scored 26 points on Wednesday night, raised his scoring average to 19.68 points per game. Louisville’s Jordan Nwora was averaging 19.6 points going into Wednesday night. He scored 10 points in the win over Georgia Tech.

Following the win over Notre Dame, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim called it a “joke” that John Mooney wasn’t among the top 25 players in college basketball before segueing into Hughes.

“I’ll mention Elijah Hughes is pretty good too. I think there’s been two players in the last 20 or 30 years that have averaged 20 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game and I think they’re both in the NBA,” Boeheim said.

Hughes has scored in double-figures in every game for Syracuse this season. On top of his scoring average, Hughes is averaging 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.0 steal per game while shooting 38.7 percent from beyond the three-point line.

He’s done a little bit of everything for Boeheim this year. Hughes predominantly has played at forward this season, but he’s played the point at times and even defended at the top of the 2-3 zone in rare instances.

Hughes has stepped up as the leader of this squad and he’s coaxed the younger players along. Really, he’s been everything and more for Syracuse.

At least for now, Hughes leads the ACC scoring just ahead of Nwora. Duke freshman Vernon Carey is the third-leading scorer in the ACC at 16.9 points per game.

Barring something unforeseen, it’s hard to see Hughes falling beyond All-ACC First Team. If Syracuse can keep winning, he might have a puncher’s chance at ACC Player of the Year.

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