The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team came into Wednesday absolutely needing a win over the N.C. State Wolfpack to have any chance at the NCAA Tournament, and Jim Boeheim’s team certainly rose to the occasion in a 89-68 victory.
Syracuse was dominant for much of the game, using a 12-1 run to out to a 12-point lead in the first half, then pouring it on in the second as the lead jumped to 15, 18 and then more than 20 points. The key was hot shooting — the likes of which few teams, nevermind a fringe bubble squad like NC State, could compete with. And that all started with Buddy Boeheim.
As he’s been prone to do before in the ACC Tournament, Buddy was absolutely electric early while putting up 20 points in the first half on 8-of-11 shooting. He tacked on another seven in the second half while winding up 10-of-16 from the floor (6-of-12 from three). Best of all, he managed to drive the lane and open up opportunities for others throughout the contest. He was co-leader for Syracuse with five assists on the game as well.
That production gives Buddy an average of nearly 20 points per game in the ACC Tournament over the last three seasons.
While maybe not the exact same sort of blowout that we saw last year in Greensboro when the Orange blitzed North Carolina, this was still a hugely impressive effort in a game ‘Cuse really needed. They shot over 55% for the game, and a 54% for the second half, a percentage which was only hurt by a late bit of chucking with the game already decided. State’s guards were overwhelmed throughout while allowing numerous open looks from three. Syracuse hit 13 of 28 tries from outside, with five different players (including Robert Braswell) hitting at least one.
Beyond Buddy Boeheim’s scoring accumen, Joe Girard managed 14 points while getting to the line five times (hitting four of those free throws). Both Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier scored 12 points — despite foul trouble for Guerrier, a theme vs. NC State this year. Marek Dolezaj had an effective seven points (on 3-of-4 shooting) and seven boards, while chipping in four assists. Braswell, Jesse Edward and Kadary Richmond combined for 17 points, 11 boards and an assist. Richmond didn’t seem 100% on the day, but still put in an effective effort.
On the other end, State failed to drive it inside early and was suckered out of their game by a decent zone from Syracuse. They shot just 37% on the game, and 31% in the second half while attempting more threes than they’re usually comfortable with. The Orange blocked six NC State shots to go with six steals.
We’ll have more from this one, but a great win for Syracuse as they looked impressive shooting the ball, used their bench and got things done on defense as well. The Orange will face the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers on Thursday at noon ET.