It certainly didn’t start out pretty. With eight minutes left in the first half, the score was 18-16 Syracuse, with the Orange in the midst of an 0-for-8 slump. Thankfully, the rest of the half picked up as Elijah Hughes went ham against a porous Boston College Eagles defense.
The second half started much like the first half ended: fast, furious, and favorable for the Orange. Syracuse got out of the gate quickly, scoring the first five points of the second half to build an early 13-point lead. Boston College would respond with a small run of their own and the teams traded baskets for the next several minutes.
Eventually, the Orange were able to pull away thanks to some outstanding second half shooting by Elijah Hughes and some timely put backs by Bourama Sidibe. The Orange ended up winning the game 84-71.
On to the takeaways!
1. The Elijah Hughes show
Elijah Hughes had a ridiculous first half, scoring 17 points, hitting 2-of-3 from deep and seven of 11 overall while also collecting three rebounds and a steal. The rest of the team scored just 18 in the half on 5-of-16 shooting.
Hughes hit some incredibly difficult shots throughout the half. Both of his made threes were well-contested. Virtually every shot - other than his alley-oop dunk - was under heavy duress.
My favorite play of the half was when Hughes backed down his defender and hit a turnaround, fadeaway jumper from 15 feet that hit every part of the rim and backboard before dropping. It should have been an and-one as well. It was a thing of beauty.
Hughes looked like a big fish in a little pond against BC, but it was abundantly clear he was the most talented player on the court and it wasn’t even close. He looked every bit an NBA player. He finished the game with 28 points on 11-for-20 shooting and 3-for-9 from deep.
I hope the scouts were watching, because Hughes has a real chance to carve out a spot on an NBA roster. He is the exact kind of player the NBA wants. A tall, athletic slasher that can handle the ball well and can score at all three levels. While Hughes isn’t a blow-by guy, he plays under control and has incredible touch. He could do very well in the league.
2. Sidibe’s second half
Bourama Sidibe had a quiet first half. He scored just two points but he did have five rebounds going into the break. Things went a bit differently in the second half.
It all started with one of the nastiest offensive rebounds I’ve seen in a long time. It was Rodman-like. Sidibe went up strong and came down in a 50/50 position with Boston College. He quickly ripped the ball free, thrusting his opponent out of bounds, turned and then slammed the ball with thunderous authority. It was his single most impressive play in an Orange jersey, and it truly showed the potential that is available to Sidibe if he can continue to develop and improve his footwork and positioning.
The next time down the court, Marek Dolezaj threw a sweet lob to Sidibe, who finished with a dunk. Then on the next offensive possession, Bourama grabbed an offensive rebound, converted the layup, and was fouled. He converted the free throw and finished the game with nine points, 12 rebounds, two steals, and a block.
He was a single point short of his third straight double double, but exited the game with about five minutes to play in the rout.
Though the stats may not seem that impressive, Sidibe had a very solid game for the Orange. There has been a marked difference for Sidibe over the past several games. Aside from scoring and rebounding well, his defense has been very impressive.
Against Boston College that continued. His footwork was outstanding, his positioning was solid, and he boxed out well throughout. He truly dominated the paint in the second half, and it makes me excited to see him continue to grow and develop.
3. The consecutive season winning streak is alive!
It was dicey there for a bit, but here we are. Fifty consecutive winning seasons for the Syracuse Orange. With only one regular season game remaining, one game in the ACC tournament (minimum), and the possibility of a postseason tournament, the most losses SU could accrue is 16.
So at 17-13, Jim Boeheim can relax just a bit. His legendary consistency is still just as consistent. And we are now just four seasons away from tying the UCLA Bruins for the longest consecutive winning season streak of all time. We’re already second all time with 50, and we’ve got a 13-season cushion on the next closest active competitor, Kansas (37). Louisville has the third longest streak among all schools (active and historical), with a 42-season streak from 1949-1990.
What a tremendous accomplishment for the program and congratulations on 50 straight seasons SU. Now let’s go get 50 more!