Buddy Boeheim provides offensive spark off bench in Syracuse’s win over Miami

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Buddy Boeheim’s eyes widened as he sat on the bench. Miami’s defense opened up in a zone, a shooter’s dream. He thought about the opportunities he’d get once on the court.Eleven minutes later, Syracuse trailed the Hurricanes by six and had shot 33 percent from beyond the arc, as offensive possessions often came up empty-handed. SU head coach Jim Boeheim signaled toward his son, who checked into the game.All season long, coaches and players alike reiterated the same thing to Buddy: shoot the ball. The freshman entered with expectations that he’d be one of the Orange’s secret weapons. It didn’t happen right away, as he shot 22 percent in nonconference play and rarely saw the floor in meaningful games. But now, in Syracuse’s most important games, like Thursday night against Miami, Buddy has provided a spark in the form of instant offense. In just 15 minutes, the 6-foot-5 guard scored 12 points and nailed three 3s, while adding a pair of assists in the Orange’s (14-5, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) 73-53 blowout win over Miami (9-9, 1-5).“(Buddy’s) playing out there with guys that are offensive guys that people are worried about,” Boeheim said. “He’s just gotta find his spots and get his looks. He hit some big ones in the first half, we were struggling to get anything going there for a while.On one Buddy shot, Tyus Battle threw his hand in the air immediately after Buddy released. Battle had been double-teamed and Buddy stood in the left corner alone. Battle’s early celebration was indicative of Buddy’s recent success. Battle knew the ball was going in. It swished.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBuddy made his next two attempts and within three minutes already tallied nine points. He added a free throw later in the half and entered the break with a team-high 10 points. It had been a long time coming for Buddy, who has shot 50 percent from beyond the arc through six ACC games.“I could tell in nonconference, I wasn’t really consistently shooting (well) in practice,” Buddy said.That translated to in-game struggles. While he tried not to let the pressure get to him, Buddy admitted it was tough struggling right out of the gate when he was expected to be a 3-point threat. Most of the time, his shots were open, too. He performed his usual catch-and-shoot routine and watched the ball fly toward the net. The ball just rarely fell through.All the while, his teammates and coaches harped on one thing. Buddy had a green light, regardless of if he were making his shots. It was only a matter of time before a shooter would find his groove. Then came Pittsburgh, where Buddy shot 4-of-5 from 3 and scored a career-high 13 points in just 19 minutes.“He knows he can shoot,” Boeheim said after the game. “He had probably the best few days of practice this week that he’s had all year. He made everything. Literally, made everything.”Syracuse entered conference play one of the worst shooting teams in the country. Before upsetting then-No. 1 Duke on the road, the Orange ranked last in the ACC in scoring.SU downed Duke before returning to the Dome and beating up on a Pittsburgh team fresh off an upset over top-15 Florida State. Five days later, Syracuse pummeled the Hurricanes. In those three games, the Orange have been red hot from 3, shooting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc in 81 tries. Buddy has been key in that turnaround, shooting 75 percent from deep himself.“That’s what Buddy does,” said Hughes, who added 22 points and six 3s in the win. “He comes in and makes shots. He was huge for us today.”On Thursday, Buddy analyzed the defense from the sideline. He watched as the defense flashed a packed-in zone. Miami wanted Syracuse to shoot 3s. They were “baiting” the Orange, Buddy said. When he checked in, nothing changed. Miami’s defense stayed inside. So Buddy pulled the trigger again and made his third straight. Buddy added a pull-up jumper and even drove inside the paint a few times. That was the key to his breakout, multiple players said.“He’s getting open looks and knocking it down,” the 43-year coach said. “Simple as that.”Yes, the Miami defense focused more on Hughes. Yes, the defense focused more on Battle, who scored just 10 points yet picked up nine assists. And yes, the defense focused more on Frank Howard, who started off the game hot and often ran the offense.That didn’t matter to Buddy. He found open space and just waited. It was only a matter of time before the ball found him. And when it did, there were no Hurricanes around.It was just Buddy, the ball and a 3-point line inches in front of his feet.center_img Published on January 24, 2019 at 11:50 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturcolast_img

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