Wow, well Cardiac ‘Cuse is alive and well! Syracuse fans went through a rollercoaster of emotions on Monday night as the Orange outlasted North Carolina 72-70.
The Tar Heels got out to an early lead, but some big shots from Buddy Boeheim evened the score. Then in the second, SU built a pretty comfortable lead, until the last couple minutes when UNC tried to piece together a comeback. Ultimately, it was a bumpy ride, but Syracuse pulled off an important win on the first day of March.
To recap the game and break it all down, let’s go to the trustee Fizz Report Card and give out some grades.
Buddy Boeheim: A
Syracuse would not have won this game if it wasn’t for Buddy Boeheim, simple as that. The junior poured in a game-high 26 points on 6-13 shooting from deep. The special thing about Buddy on Monday was when he made his shots. Syracuse was down pretty bad in the first half, but Boeheim took over and regained the lead for SU before the break. If UNC was up at halftime, it could have easily run away with it in the second. Boeheim was the MVP of this game and deserves an A.
Quincy Guerrier: B
Quincy Guerrier was solid, but didn’t do anything special. The Canadian was a good scoring option for Syracuse, finishing with 18 points. But here’s the thing, Guerrier got destroyed on the inside by the UNC bigs (see below). At this point in his career, you don’t expect the forward to struggle rebounding the ball, so when he does some points need to get taken off. So, subtract those points and Guerrier lands at a B on the Fizz Report Card.
Marek Dolezaj: B-
Marek Dolezaj had a rough night. The forward also struggled rebounding the ball and only scored eight points. He did, however, add five assists, three blocks, and three steals. You would have loved him to do a little more on the boards, but he did contribute in other areas so you can’t penalize him too much. Let’s give him a B-.
Jesse Edwards: B
Coming off a season high in minutes against Georgia Tech, Jessie Edwards one-upped himself on Monday, playing a new season high, 24 minutes. The sophomore wasn’t perfect, but he looked better than he has in the past. He grabbed the most rebounds out of Syracuse players with eight and added six points. The big issue for Edwards was he fouled out with six minutes left. After that, the Tar Heels began to go on a little run because they didn’t have to deal with his size on the inside. You can see Edwards’s growth, he’s playing much better, but there is still plenty of room to improve.
One of the keys to this game for Syracuse was forcing turnovers. The Orange are first in the ACC in steals per game, while the Tar Heels are dead last in turnovers per contest. Both of those stats held true on Monday as the Syracuse defense talled 15 steals and caused 20 North Carolina turnovers. Kadary Richmond and Edwards were a big reason for that defensive dominance, contributing four steals each. The SU defense led to offense on the other end and was a big reason why Cuse got the win.
My goodness, Syracuse is horrible at rebounding. The Orange’s struggles on the boards were on full display Monday night. UNC won the rebounding battle 53-23. The Heels also snatched 26 offensive boards, which is the most the Orange have allowed all season long and the most since 2018. Yes, North Carolina has some beasts down low in Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks, but that’s no excuse. Dolezaj, Edwards and Guerrier were all getting embarrassed.