After calling out his big men earlier in the week, Jim Boeheim’s entire squad answered the call in a 72-49 blowout of the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Peterson Events Center.
The game started off like both teams were auditioning to re-enter the Big East, if the Big East was the permanently frozen in the first to 50 era. The Orange started off 3-10 from the field and 0-5 from 3, which is almost the exact opposite of the momentum from the Georgia Tech victory. Because this is the weirdest timeline, Bourama Sidibe carried ‘Cuse, putting up the first 4 points.
While both teams continued to struggle, Elijah Hughes did what he did best. With the game at 6-5 with 14 to play in the half, the Orange put up 31 points, with Hughes scoring 15. While he was only 1-5 from behind the arc, the Junior made 7 of his 8 free throws and helped the Orange pull away from Pitt. If that seems high for one player, the Panthers were tagged for 13 fouls in the first half, with Syracuse converting 12 of 16 at the free throw line.
However, the story of the first half came from a player who’s name hasn’t been mentioned. Sophomore Buddy Boeheim left the game with an ankle sprain and was replaced primarily by Freshman Brycen Goodine. With the Orange up 37-21 and Sidibe/Hughes feeling it for the Orange, the short term concern was minimal.
The second half opened with the makings of another slow ‘Cuse start, with 5 quick points from the Panthers. However Elijah Hughes immediately answered with a 3, a defensive stop led to a Marek Dolezaj fast break 2, and Hughes drained a long jumper to put ‘Cuse up 18.
Sidibe would be pulled from the game after the center picked up his fourth foul with 15:42 to go in the second half, but it wouldn’t slow down ‘Cuse. Goodine and Joe Girard III led an 16-7 Orange run that put them up 62-37 at the 10:30 TV timeout. Goodine was finding open space for easy shots, while Girard drained 3 threes, with Pitt’s defense clearly lost.
The next 7 minutes were summed up pretty succinctly here. Pitt managed 13 points on 11 shots, but The Orange were happy to grab a few rebounds and answer with 4 of their own. The offense got sloppy, and Boeheim clearly looked peeved when the 4 minute timeout was called.
The final minutes were uneventful, as Pitt continued to jack up bad shots, while the Orange drained clock to ice the 72-49 win. Hughes finished the game with a team leading 25 points, while Sidibe racked up a season high 13 points.
The Orange return home to retire John Wallace’s jersey and close out the Inflatable Roof on the Dome versus the North Carolina Tar Heels at 4:00 PM ET on ESPN.