CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Junior guard Buddy Boeheim returned to his Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team on Thursday after missing the previous three games due to contract tracing. According to Jim Boeheim, his son didn’t make anything in the two practices leading up to the Boston College game.
But the younger Boeheim came out strong in Saturday’s 101-63 win at Boston College. He made his first two 3s and set the tone early, allowing Syracuse to set a new program record for made 3s in a single game with 16. Boeheim described the first two makes as a confidence booster.
“That was big for me, missing three games, just trying to get back into rhythm,” he said. “To be able to see those two go down early when my legs weren’t quite there yet. I feel like I had to get into the game first to really feel like I was back in game shape.”
After Boeheim’s early makes, Joe Girard followed suit from the perimeter, making his first three shots from deep. Then Alan Griffin joined the 3-point barrage. Woody Newton made a shot from deep as well, all part of an 8-16 first half shooting performance from Syracuse.
Syracuse has already put together two superb shooting performances on the season. The Orange made 15 3s in a game against Rider without Boeheim. Against Boston College, Griffin led the way with 6-9 shooting from distance. Girard shot 5-7 from deep while Boeheim shot 3-8. Kadary Richmond also made his only 3-point attempt in the second half.
Girard had his best shooting performance of the season at Boston College, but he’s been inconsistent to begin his sophomore year. His head coach suggested that he was aided by having his backcourt partner back in the fold.
“It really helps Joe to have Buddy with him,” Jim Boeheim said post-game. “They don’t leave him, it leaves gaps. So I think that was good to get those two guys back together.”
“I knew Joe would get out of this slump. He’s a baller. I went through the same thing my freshman year,” Buddy Boehiem said.
Boeheim and Girard combined to score 27.7 points per game last season. As longtime teammates that played together for the Albany City Rocks prior to Syracuse, the pair have a synergy about them. They combined to make 167 3-pointers last season. The elder Boeheim made it known that those two guys have already proven themselves as players despite Girard’s early season struggles.
Girard’s teammates and coaches gave him confidence through this beginning stretch. He said having Boeheim back opens things up for Syracuse offensively. Due to the inconsistent shooting nights, however, Girard has had his shot selection questioned.
“He can shoot that long shot. If we’re playing well, he’s got a good rhythm, he can make that shot. If we’re struggling, we haven’t done anything, he hasn’t gotten anything then it’s not a good shot. We’ll learn,” Boeheim said.
Girard didn’t personalize his efforts when prompted and instead spoke generally about hot shooting and the team.
“I think it just goes for anybody. If you got a lot of confidence and you’re playing well, just let it fly,” Girard said.
Syracuse as a team let it fly and shot 16-31 (51.6%) from downtown. It set a new program record and boosted the team to break the century mark with 101 points, the highest scoring output for an Orange team in four years.