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For an afternoon Syracuse’s Jimmy Boeheim took over the Barclays Center

Even in defeat Jimmy gave us a memorable performance

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Syracuse Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was a long, difficult season on the court for the Syracuse Orange but for the Boeheim family this last week must have felt like a month. Syracuse’s hopes for a return to the NCAA Tournament were hanging on a miraculous run to the ACC Tournament title. However losing a basketball game has been the least of the worries in a week that saw them face the aftermath of the armed robbery.

Syracuse’s blowout win over the Florida State Seminoles brought some smiles especially after this feed from Buddy Boeheim led to a monster dunk from older brother Jimmy Boeheim.

The fun was cut short on Wednesday night when the ACC announced that Buddy would be suspended for the game against the Duke Blue Devils. Syracuse’s door looked to be nailed shut as they prepared to face the top-seed. Jimmy Boeheim wasn’t going to let Syracuse roll over though. As he did so often throughout the 21-22 season, he scored the first basket of the game. In the first half he had 10 points as Syracuse went into the break up 40-36.

All of us knew Duke was going to adjust and come at the Orange out of the half but Jimmy responded early and often. The lead was four, Jimmy hit a 3. Duke gets it back to 5, Jimmy gets a bucket. The Blue Devils close to 3, another Jimmy 3 pushes it back to two possessions. When it looked like Syracuse had finally run out of gas and Duke had taken a 5-point lead Jimmy helped key a run to give the Orange the lead back at 79-78 with less than four minutes to play.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Syracuse Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

That basket was the last points the Orange would score. Duke finished the game on a 10-0 run but Jimmy had closed his one year Syracuse career with a game that will be remembered. He finished with 28 points on 11-20 shooting, 6-9 from deep and added 7 rebounds to go along with a team-leading 3 steals. Jimmy did this while playing all 40 minutes against two future NBA first-round picks. Not bad for the Ivy League player many felt was not ready for ACC competition.

In the end the Syracuse season still came to a end. It marked the worst year of Jim Boeheim’s coaching career in terms of wins and losses, but as the Hall of Fame coach remarked afterwards “It’s the best season I’ve ever had in coaching.”

We might not remember this season as fondly as others but for a couple of hours yesterday Jimmy Boeheim gave us all something to remember.