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Slight adjustments help Buddy Boeheim get back on track for Syracuse

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Can the Orange maintain this moving forward?

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange entered their home game against the Pitt Panthers a three-game losing streak. During the slide the Orange’s leading scorer, Buddy Boeheim had struggled to find open space and shot only 14-44 from the floor (9 for 26 from 3) over the three losses.

This year Syracuse’s opponents are taking a page out of Houston’s book and using taller, stronger defenders on Buddy to limit his ability to back into the lane for mid-range jumpers. They are also doubling when the Orange use Jesse Edwards in a high pick-and-roll which has forced Boeheim to get rid of the ball. On Tuesday night they made some adjustments in the game plan to help him get cleaner looks.

On all four of Buddy’s 1st-half makes from 3, he’s coming off screens to catch and shoot open jumpers. There’s no struggle with trying to beat his defender off the bounce and he’s moving through a variety of screens. I thought Jim Boeheim did a nice job of having Buddy coming off the ball and running into his shot beyond the arc. It’s much harder for defenses to trap him in these situations and if teams switch Buddy has raised his assists per game going from 2.6 to 3.7 per game showing an added dimension to his offense.

Syracuse has only won one game this season when Buddy shoots under 40% from the floor. Although the Orange have a balanced offense among the starting five, it’s clear that he’s the one who makes it all work. He’s been over the 20 point mark in half of Syracuse’s games this season and if he doesn’t have to work as hard to get open shots it can help him be more effective on both ends. Ball movement has been an issue we’ve harped on with this squad so if they can continue to pass and cut as they did against the Panthers they can turn some of these close losses into wins down the stretch.