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Brycen Goodine a capable distributor for Syracuse in extended minutes vs. Pitt

The freshman guard had his moments while subbing for an injured Buddy Boeheim.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

When Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim went down with an ankle injury in the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Wednesday, there were reasons to be concerned.

Buddy is SU’s second leading scorer with 15 points per game, and the Orange’s leading three-point shooter. Even against a struggling Pitt squad, it obviously pays to have him in the lineup, vs. out of it.

Though the Orange missed Buddy’s shooting against Pitt, the injury — hopefully a short-term issue — it did create an opportunity to see some extended minutes from Brycen Goodine, and the freshman guard seemed to make the most of them, especially as a distributor.

Goodine scored five points in 18 minutes against the Panthers, but also led the team with four assists and added a block while committing zero turnovers. Those aren’t Buddy’s numbers by any stretch, and no one would claim they were, or would even need to be. However, the extended minutes at least seemed to indicate we could/should see more of Goodine to help him prepare for a more expanded role in 2020-21.

The 18 minutes were the second-most Goodine’s played all year, bested only by the 20 he was on the floor against Bucknell back in November. The level of competition was clearly better here, though, which adds some encouragement the early win against the Bison didn’t.

Goodine’s four helpers were the most by a Syracuse guard since Joe Girard III had five against Florida State a couple weeks ago, and the third-highest total by an Orange guard this month (Girard had seven assists vs. Duke as well). Also encouraging were how Goodine’s assists came about in this one — three on layups and one on a Girard three. SU may have gone back to shooting more threes in this game (22 vs. a season-low 14 in Saturday’s win vs. Georgia Tech), but they were clearly working the ball inside, especially with Bourama Sidibe putting in a solid offensive performance to the tune of 13 points.

We’ll see how much Goodine is needed against North Carolina on Saturday, as there’s no sure timeline for Buddy’s recovery. After the game, he told he’s taking it day-by-day but “the plan is (he’ll) be ready to go.” From a scoring perspective, we’re hoping a healthy Boeheim finds his way onto the court. But if Goodine has to play in his place, we at least have a better sense of what that could look like against ACC competition.