With three of the big men for the Orange fouling out, the Syracuse Men’s Basketball team had to rely on freshmen Jesse Edwards and Brycen Goodine. In the final two seconds of the game, Elijah Hughes took a shot from behind the arch and missed. Then, Edwards reached for the offensive rebound but instead tipped it over to Goodine, who laid the ball in for the game-winner. This was almost identical to what happen when the football team hosted Wake Forest and beat them as time expired with a clutch play from an underclass. Jim Boeheim and team are now 7-5 in the ACC and continue to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.
Buddy Boeheim was a stand-out player for SU yet again. The sophomore lead all scorers with 23 points and finished 5-9 beyond the three-point line. Something nuanced about this performance was that he compiled a season-high four steals. The last time Boeheim had a multiple steal effort was against Notre Dame to start the new year. His final steal came in a crucial game-sealing moment. In the second to last Demon Deacon offensive possession, the game was tied 73-73 and Boeheim picked the pocket of Ismael Massoud to reclaim the ball for the final Orange possession.
Another big factor in this game was free throw shooting. Syracuse started off the game shooting 100 percent from the line. Hughes and Quincy Guerrier were both six of six at one point in the first half. Coming out of the locker room, SU missed important free throws that could have kept the game far from within reach from Wake. The Orange ended up with a free throw percentage of 80 percent after clutch shots made from Hughes, who made 11 of 13 attempts.
Speaking of foul shooting, Syracuse has struggled down the stretch with having their three main bigs fouling out with substantial time left on the clock. SU was in a similar situation two games prior against Clemson. In the game, Edwards was put in the game and struggled tremendously. Tonight, he played clutch minutes and was a positive contributor. He only scored a single point but had two steals and rebounds on the defensive side of the ball. Goodine also play big minutes because of lack of big men availability and those minutes were the most significant of his career thus far. The freshmen had averaged on two points all season and those two points were the difference in this game.
The Orange defense put up a defensive effort and held the Wake Forest leading scorer to only nine points. Brandon Childress averages over 15 points a game and tonight Syracuse shut him down. The senior’s impact was limited. He only had two assists. He averages 4.7 per game and four against number five Louisville.
The next opponent for SU is NC State. The Wolfpack is another team that is currently on the bubble of tournament brackets. This game is majorly important for both of these teams that need every conference wins possible.