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Syracuse to Face Cornell for a Boeheim Family Affair
Be sure to tune in to WAER for Countdown to Tipoff at 7:30 on 88.3.

Syracuse Orange Men’s Basketball (4-2) looks to build on its strong road upset of Ohio State earlier this week when it faces the Cornell Big Red (4-3) at the Carrier Dome Saturday night.  While the Orange boast a 38 game series win streak against Cornell, this game will have plenty of intrigue as it will feature a Boeheim family reunion.

After a disappointing start to the season with losses at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic to Uconn and Oregon, the Orange bounced back strong against No. 16 Ohio State with a 72-62 win in Columbus as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.  Tyus Battle lead Syracuse in scoring with 20 points while the Orange exhibited their usual defensive prowess holding the previously undefeated Buckeyes to a season low point total. The Orange will look for Battle to continue his team leading scoring (18.0 ppg) against the Big Red.  

A storyline to watch is how many minutes Orange star Frank Howard plays.  This will be Howard’s third game after sitting out the early part of the season with an injured left leg.  Coach Boeheim has been cautious bringing Howard back only playing him 21.5 minutes per game in his first two games this season.  This is in stark contrast to the 38.4 mpg he averaged last year. During Howard’s absence, the Orange have relied heavily for scoring on Elijah Hughes (15.3 ppg) and Oshae Brissett (14.7 ppg), while also getting key contributions from Jalen Carey, Marek Dolezaj and Paschal Chukwu.

Cornell, who is predicted to finish in the middle of Ivy League pack this year, is coming off a big road win of its own as it defeated Lafayette College 63-58 in overtime.  The Big Red is led by its senior guard Matt Morgan who leads the team in both points (23.8 ppg) and rebounds (6.8 rpg). Morgan is a legitimate scorer and playmaker as he flirted with declaring for the NBA Draft last year but instead opted to return for his senior campaign.  Other than Morgan, Cornell did not return any player from last year’s team that averaged more than 7 ppg.

However, the Big Red has relied heavily this season on Jimmy Boeheim Jr., the older of Coach Boeheim’s two Division 1 playing basketball sons.  Jimmy Jr., known as a sharpshooter, is second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and looks to improve on his less than stellar season three point average (.238).  While Coach Boeheim coached against Jimmy Jr. in last year’s Syracuse 77-45 victory over Cornell, Saturday will mark the first time that Jimmy Jr. will face his younger brother Syracuse freshman Buddy Boeheim in a collegiate matchup.  

At the beginning of the season there was some talk that he would redshirt, Buddy has played in 5 of Syracuse’s 6 games and has averaged more than 16 minutes per game.  Buddy came to Syracuse with some notoriety based on being the coach’s son, but also with great expectations on the court as a legendary high school shooter. Like his older brother, so far this season Buddy has not lived up to those expectations averaging only 2.0 per game and not yet finding his groove from behind the three-point arc (.105 3P%).

Last year’s game allowed the proud Boeheim parents to get used to having a familiar face on the opposing sidelines.  Mom Juli Boeheim was spotted last year wearing a specially made shirt to commemorate both teams. We should expect to see Juli sporting both Orange and Red against this year, especially with Buddy on the court.  There will be plenty of intrigue to see whether Coach Boeheim looks to put Buddy in the game while Jimmy Jr. is on the Court and whether there will be any trash talking between the brothers. The game is set to tipoff at 8:00 p.m.