Buddy Boeheim shines with career-night in ACC Tournament win over Pittsburgh

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jim Boeheim’s wife, Juli, has told the 43-year head coach that their son Buddy should play more. That’s what Syracuse’s head coach said on Wednesday night, adding that Juli reminds him every day. Buddy put his head down and laughed when he was told.“Oh no,” Buddy said before the question even finished. “I think that’s more the mom in her, not really the coach, but it’s always nice when you go out there and play well when you’re starting especially.”Buddy started for Syracuse (20-12, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) on Wednesday in a 73-59 win over Pittsburgh (14-19, 3-15) in the ACC tournament. Tyus Battle missed the game with a bruised back, so for the first time since SU’s opening two games of the season, Buddy got the nod from the opening tip. He finished with a career-high 20 points, career-high six rebounds, career-high four assists and a personal 8-0 run that gave the Orange a second-half jolt.“He’s been well prepared to be able to step up in this kind of game,” Boeheim said.Early in the first half, the Panthers inbounded underneath their offensive basket but lobbed a pass out toward the 3-point arc. Buddy leapt for the interception, dribbled behind his back and converted a layup. He’s said all season he’s wanted to be more than a shooter, and it showed. Buddy’s second bucket of the first half came from deep on the right wing when he banked in a 3.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the Orange went into halftime down six points. Buddy’s teammates encouraged him to take more shots, he said. So out of the locker room, again on the floor to start the half, he did.“Guys were telling me I needed to look more for my shot in the second half,” Buddy said. “And that’s what I did and they were finding me.”It started in the lane again, off a drive to his left that finished with a short righty floater. Then Buddy stepped into a 3 at the top of the key. Finally, the Buddy-only run culminated with a 3 from about five feet beyond the top of the arc. Syracuse led and wouldn’t trail again. Pittsburgh used a timeout. And Buddy walked calmly toward midcourt before pointing at his jersey and being surrounded by teammates who sprinted over to pound chests with him. “In practice, we make him scream, we make him react to shots and stuff,” Frank Howard said. “We make him show a little bit of emotion. He’s a competitor, regardless, he’s just not very vocal about it, and he’s young. That got me hype today. That kind of all turned us up.”Buddy assisted on 3s from Elijah Hughes and Howard soon after. The Orange broke the game open, and free throws down the stretch helped the freshman surpass his previous career-high of 16.After the game, Buddy sat at his locker speaking to reporters with an ice pack on his right hand. He’d hurt part of his thumb at some point in the first half, but he credited adrenaline for not allowing him to remember when. He wasn’t worried about it, though.“I shot better in the second half, so I don’t think it’s a big problem,” Buddy said. Buddy hadn’t started a game since the first two Syracuse played, back on Nov. 6 and 10. After a solid exhibition slate, he combined to shoot 2-of-18 in his first starts. When the Orange returned to fuller health, Buddy was relegated to a bench role that he thrived in when the calendar changed to 2019.But Wednesday, in the first postseason game of his career in the uniform he grew up dreaming to wear, Buddy was back in the starting lineup. He led his father’s team in scoring in a win that seemed far from certain with Battle out of the lineup.“When you can shoot the ball like that, that’s a big-time weapon, and it opens up so many other things in your game,” Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said.And when the final buzzer sounded, with the teams lining up for handshakes, Buddy found himself side-by-side with Battle. The Syracuse junior, who’s scored 20-plus points in 34 different games with the Orange, brought up that it was Buddy’s first time doing so. Then, the usual starter and the freshman that took his place Wednesday laughed.“I was like yeah, I almost missed it ‘cause I missed those free throws and I was a little worried,” Buddy said. “But I got it. Most important, we won that game, so that’s the biggest thing.” Published on March 14, 2019 at 1:17 am Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *