SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team beat the Indiana Hoosiers 112-110 in double-overtime on Tuesday night as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was the first multiple-overtime victory for the program since taking down UConn in six overtimes in the 2009 Big East Tournament.
Syracuse was led by Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim as the brace of brothers combined to produce 53 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 6 steals.
“I just thought Buddy and Jimmy we’re tremendous,” Jim Boeheim said post-game.
Both Boeheim brothers posted season-highs as younger brother Buddy scored 27 while Jimmy put up 26. Both players took turns making important plays for Syracuse down the stretch.
“Obviously we know Buddy is who he is. He’s an All-American player. He’s one of the best players in the country. But Jimmy, we see it every single day in practice. Obviously we’ve seen glimpses of him play really well. We’ve seen him score 20 points already. It’s only the beginning for him,” Cole Swider said.
With Indiana roaring back from an 18-point deficit, taking the lead and control of the game in the second half, Jimmy made an important three off of a feed from Jesse Edwards that gave the lead back to Syracuse 68-67.
“I think I had a lot of experience with that at Cornell which helped me a lot,” He said from the Syracuse locker room. “Those are the moments you live for. You step up in the big moment at home in front of all the crowd when your team really needs you to get a bucket.”
Clinging to a one-point lead minutes later, he grabbed an offensive rebound, put it back up and in and was fouled. His father, or head coach (Jimmy isn’t totally sure), clenched his fist and swung his right arm in one motion. Syracuse went up 74-70 and the home crowd — with a packed student section — was as loud as its been on the young season.
“The crowd was awesome. I just really fed off the student section. They were great too. Thanks to everyone that came out and stuck with us and cheered through the bad run to start the second half. I had a lot of fun out there. I really did. Just fighting with this group of guys for these fans on this court, it was awesome,” Jimmy said.
The older Boeheim brother wasn’t done yet. Around the four minute mark, a Xavier Johnson turnover resulted in a transition layup by Jimmy. Then his patented right-handed hook in the lane helped cap a 12-2 Syracuse run.
“He did a really good job getting to his spot. He’s really good with his right and left hand inside the paint. He took some tough shots but he also made some tough shots. We need him to make big plays,” Joe Girard said.
Then it was Buddy’s time to close down the stretch. Little brother found a wide open Edwards underneath with less than 30 seconds to play to give Syracuse a six point lead. Still, Indiana didn’t go quietly as Parker Stewart made a three and Syracuse fouled up three on its next defensive possession. One made free throw and a miss allowed a Trayce Jackson-Davis rebound. He was fouled and made a pair to force overtime.
Syracuse went into extra time and Buddy only got better. With 1:53 remaining and the game tied, he drove to his left, spun back right and put up a floater to put Syracuse up 97-95 in the first overtime. But a determined Indiana team demanded another overtime period.
“I just thought this was a will to win the game in the overtimes,” Jim Boeheim said. “When you blow a lead like that and you’re up four and you still don’t win it, it’s really tough to overcome that.”
In the double-overtime period, Buddy’s two made free throws gave the Orange its first lead 103-101. Then he drove past Race Thompson and made a jumper along the baseline to give his team a 105-101 lead. The Syracuse bench told him to keep going, which gave him a boost.
“When I hear that it’s hard not to continue to go and fight and try to make a play for us,” Buddy said.
On the next play, the Syracuse head coach went back to the well of his youngest son. Buddy had the ball on the right wing with Miller Kopp defending — a matchup Syracuse and Buddy liked. As the double came from Boeheim’s left, he denied the trap by driving right and hit a floater over the defense to put Syracuse up 107-102.
“This is what I worked for,” Buddy said. “I felt like I was getting to my spots the whole game. Some shots weren’t falling but I really liked where I was going. I was in the paint every time.”
“For Buddy to play 50 minutes with that team — that pressure and still be able to make the baseline jumper and the bank against the really good shot-blocker — to me that’s incredible to make those plays,” Jim Boeheim said.
With just 17 seconds remaining, Jimmy made two free throws to put Syracuse up three. Indiana was still threatening and Syracuse’s free throw shooting down the stretch was vital in a pressure situation.
“That’s why I play. Stuff like that. It’s really fun. It’s not really being afraid of the situation it’s just attacking it,” Jimmy divulged.
He scored a season-high 26 points and was just five points off his collegiate career-high of 31. Coincidentally, Buddy’s career-high is also 31 (Virginia). Neither were thinking about personal bests in the heat of the moment, but once the dust settled the sensation set in.
“Something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Buddy said. “This is probably the best game I’ve ever been a part of. I wasn’t really thinking about it much in the moment. I was just thinking, ‘Hey lets win.’ But seeing him [Jimmy] score and do his thing as well is pretty awesome and special.”
It was a hard-fought victory and a much-needed one at that for a Syracuse team which had just played three games in three days last week in the Battle 4 Atlantis, dropping two. Jim Boeheim emphasized how his team played with a lot of heart. Buddy thought this was one of the better wins he’s had at Syracuse.
“I don’t think there’s a better win I’ve had than this one,” Buddy said. “The fans were incredible too. Having them here makes it that much better. They believe in us. They don’t quit on us. They still came, 20,000 tonight after going 3-3 into this game. I can’t say enough about the fans. Just thankful for ‘Cuse Nation and thankful to do it with this team. This is a special group.”
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