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Syracuse Starters Shine in Offensive Shootout, defeat NC State

Buddy Boeheim (35) celebrates with teammate Joe Girard III (11) in Syracuse’s 89-84 win over NC State on Wednesday.
Cuse.com
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Buddy Boeheim (35) celebrates with teammate Joe Girard III (11) in Syracuse’s 89-84 win over NC State on Wednesday.

Syracuse men’s basketball snagged back-to-back ACC wins for the first time this season on Wednesday. WAER’s Joe Puccio describes the impact of the Orange’s starting lineup that powered SU over NC State.

100%. It’s mathematically impossible to have more than 100% of something. 100% means perfect. In terms of scoring distribution, Syracuse’s starting lineup was perfect Wednesday night.

SU (11-11, 5-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference) defeated NC State (10-13, 3-9 in Atlantic Coast Conference) 89-82 in Raleigh due to the Orange starters. All five scored in double figures as center Jesse Edwards and forward Cole Swider paved the way with 19 points each.

“Our offense was really good. It can’t get better than that,” said head coach Jim Boeheim postgame. “Earlier in the year, we would’ve lost this game by six or eight points.”

The Orange have lost seven games by less than ten points this year, but Wednesday night was not one of them. One reason why is that SU got help from one of its rising talents, Jesse Edwards.

“He blocks two shots and gets two big redbounds down there,” coach Boehiem said. “That was really the difference. Those stops.”

If the Dutchman wasn’t in the kitchen, which was rare, Swider was cooking. The Rhode Island forward is starting to feel himself in February.

“Honestly for me, the pressure is off. Everyone’s kind of written us off, said that we aren’t going to be good this year,” said Cole Swider postgame. “I’m just taking the mentality like there’s no more pressure. Go out there and play.”

Swider went down to Raleigh and had a field day. The Villanove transfer was a perfect 4/4 from downtown and only missed two field goals in the entire contest. This is two games in a row for the senior in which he posted 18 or more points.

Speaking of players feeling themselves, look no further than Joseph Girard III. The junior guard finished with 18 points and 8 assists. His play from the point caused problems that NC State couldn’t solve.

“Joe did a good job of finding Jesse. We got him a bucket right away early, so they were looking for [Jesse]. The second half, it really opened up…” coach Boeheim mentioned postgame.

JG3’s partner in crime, Buddy Boehiem, posted 17 points, but shot 6/16 from the field. His brother, Jimmy, was a threat offensively. The graduate forward only missed 2 shots en route to a 16-point performance.

Forward Benny Williams saw the most minutes of anyone off the bench. The freshman didn’t score in the 26 minutes spent laboring on the floor. Guard Symir Torrence was scoreless in his 11 minutes of game time and center Frank Anselem picked up three fouls in only four minutes.

“I’d like to see more out of our guys off the bench, but there’s a struggle there,” said coach Boeheim. “We will see how it goes, but we’re losing too much when we do go to those guys.”

Benny Williams (13, orange) fades away over NC State’s Jaylon Gibson (11, white). Williams only shot one field goal attempt in the win.
Cuse.com
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Benny Williams (13, orange) fades away over NC State’s Jaylon Gibson (11, white). Williams only shot one field goal attempt in the win.

The bench didn’t get much action from coach Boeheim, but the starting lineup didn’t give any hope to the reserves. All Syracuse starters scored in double-figures. SU remains one of just two Division I programs in which all five starters average over ten points per game.

Syracuse got a huge lift from the starters, which may not be needed next game against Louisville. The Cardinals only have one scorer averaging double-figures, Malik Williams, who was suspended prior to Louisville's date with UNC on Tuesday. Gametime between the Orange and Cards is scheduled for 2 pm on Saturday. Our coverage begins at 1:30 with Countdown to Tipoff.

Our next basketball broadcast is Thursday night when Syracuse women’s basketball plays Miami. GZA Countdown to Tipoff gets the action started at 6:30 for the 7 pm start.