College basketball: Buddy Boeheim strikes for 27 points as Syracuse advances over NC State

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Josh St. Croix, Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.
·4 min read
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Mar. 10—Buddy Boeheim scored 27 points to spark an offensive onslaught at the most opportune time, pushing the Syracuse University men's basketball team into the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.

Boeheim finished two points shy of his career high and one off the program record for an ACC Tournament game to lift the eighth-seeded Orange to an 89-68 victory over the No. 9 North Carolina State Wolfpack in front of approximately 2,800 fans Wednesday in the Greensboro Coliseum at Greensboro, N.C.

Syracuse (16-8) advanced to face top-seeded and No. 15/16-ranked Virginia (17-6) at noon Thursday in the same location. That quarterfinal matchup will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

The Orange extended its stay in the NCAA Tournament at-large discussion, entering the day with a No. 49 NET Ranking and climbing two spots to the top rung on the "First Four Out," of ESPN Joe Lunardi's bracket projections immediately following the victory.

Syracuse was listed with an 88 percent chance of making the NCAA field in the ESPN BPI (College Basketball Power Index) afterward.

"This team has played really well, they've come together, a lot of people gave up on them early in the year and they kept plugging away, kept going," SU coach Jim Boeheim said afterward. "As everyone knows, it's been a hard year. ... I'm very proud of this team and what they've done."

Buddy Boeheim led five players in double figures, all of whom made multiple 3-pointers as SU finished 14-for-29 from behind the arc for their third highest total of the season and most since hitting a program-record 16 against Boston College on Dec. 12.

Syracuse finished 56.7 percent from the field for its second-best shooting mark of the year and produced its second-highest point total for a regulation game.

Joseph Girard III scored 14 points, Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier added 12 apiece, and Robert Braswell chipped in 11 points in 21 minutes off the bench.

Boeheim and Griffin tied for the team lead with five assists each and the Orange assisted on 19 of 34 field goals.

"It was just two great halves of offense," Buddy Boeheim said. "I felt like in the first half, I got it going and guys were looking for me, and in the second half, everyone was going, and it's just a lot of fun when you know someone is going to make a play and it doesn't matter who it is."

Buddy Boeheim went 10-for-16 from the field and 6-for-12 from long range to match his season high for 3-pointers — which he has reached three times in the last six games. The 6-foot-6 junior is averaging 22 points per game in that span.

Boeheim produced his best field goal percentage of the season (62.5) and scored 20 of his game-high output in the first half to lift SU to a 43-38 advantage at the break.

He scored on a four-point play during a 16-3 SU run to open the second half and push the Orange's edge to 59-41 five minutes into the period. Syracuse held a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.

Boeheim left the floor with 2:42 left and SU leading, 86-64, and was one point shy of the highest point total ever for an SU player in the ACC Tournament, trailing Frank Howard's 28 against Duke in 2019.

Boeheim also became the seventh player in SU history to reach 200 career 3-pointers during the performance, passing SU's career scoring leader, Lawrence Moten, on the all-time list.

"(Buddy) got a lot of good, open looks, his teammates did a really good job of setting him up, finding him," Jim Boeheim said. "We did a really good job of attacking their press to get him open shots, and he was hot. He can get it going and they look for him, but it was a really good balance in the second half."

Syracuse sophomore center Jesse Edwards tied Griffin with a team-best eight rebounds in his 18 minutes off the bench. That matched a career high on the boards for Edwards, which he has hit three times in the last four games.

DJ Funderburk and Manny Bates scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, to lead North Carolina State (13-10), which was limited to 29-percent shooting in the second half and had a five-game winning streak snapped.

The Orange completed the three-game season sweep of the Wolfpack, pulling off the feat for the second time in eight ACC seasons. SU also beat Pittsburgh three times in 2019.