Check out some observations from the Oranges game against the Eagles.
Boston College was not a very good defensive team Tuesday. But Buddy Boeheim is showing some gradual improvement with the ball in his hands. He is getting better at getting into the lane, shrugging off a defender and either scoring over him (he often has a height advantage) or using some sort of step-back or turn-around separation. On Tuesday, he also drove successfully to the rim. Boeheim finished with 22 points (4-of-7 from 3).
Boston College was -- how to put this politely? -- not good in the first half. The Eagles missed 22 of the 27 shots they attempted. They missed every one of the 14 shots they took from the 3-point line. BC surrounded the perimeter with would-be shooters and rarely attempted to put anyone at the free-throw line or look inside the Orange zone. This, mind you, is a team that defeated Virginia 60-53. By halftime on Tuesday, BC trailed 38-13.
The lopsided first half gave Jim Boeheim some confidence to try his bench. He played eight guys in that first half, the starters plus Quincy Guerrier, Jesse Edwards and Howard Washington. Washington had three assists, a steal and a rebound in eight minutes. With 4:09 left in the game, SU had Brycen Goodine, Washington, Guerrier, Edwards and Marek Dolezaj on the floor.
Syracuse so dominated the defensive glass in the first half against BC, it was able to get out and run. Of the 23 chances the Orange had to grab defensive rebounds, it got 18 of them. SU scored 22 transition points in the first half. The Orange has gone entire games without those kind of fast-break opportunities.
Elijah Hughes drove the ball in the first half, collided with a Boston College player, collapsed beneath his own basket & and stayed down. Officials whistled him for a charge. He was slow to get up and when he did, SU athletic trainer Brad Pike ushered him to the SU bench, where he sat for four minutes. Hughes leads the ACC in minutes played. In five conference games, he had been averaging 39.78 minutes of game action. He played 31 minutes in Tuesdays blowout and scored 19 points.
Marek Dolezaj owns the best free-throw rate on the SU team and hes getting better at turning those opportunities into points. In the first half, he went to the free-throw line four times and made every shot. In the second half, he went 2-for-2. Dolezaj shot .591 from the line a season ago. Going into Tuesdays game, he was converting .654 of his free throws. In conference games, he was at .684.
Second half levity: In the heated Mustard vs. Ketchup vs. Hot Dog time out competition, Mustard tried to dunk (!!). He missed it, but the crowd reacted, and John Bol Ajak and Jalen Carey, who were standing on the periphery of SUs timeout huddle (they are both redshirting), tried to suppress smiles.
Boston College missed its first 18 shots from the 3-point line until Julian Rishwain drained one with 13:40 to go in the game. Then the Eagles went on something of a 3-point tear, finishing 6-of-16 in the second half.
Brycen Goodine, who broke his nose a couple weeks ago during a Syracuse practice, was sent to the scorers table wearing his protective mask with 6:45 left in the game. A dead ball allowed him to enter at the 6:22 mark. SU led 66-41 then and the Orange backcourt consisted of Goodine and Howard Washington. Goodine scored in the lane, drew a foul and converted the free throw. Then, he made a reverse layup.
Tidbits: Syracuse shot 51.9 percent overall and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line; BC shot 32.8 percent overall and 20 percent from the 3-point line. The Orange outrebounded the Eagles 40-28. & SUs walk-ons, plus Shaun Belbey, closed out the game with Jesse Edwards protecting the middle.