Last night Syracuse took down Boston College rather unconvincingly inside the Conte Forum, 73-64. The Orange offense wasn’t strong, but luckily, the Eagles looked like they’d never played the sport before. BC ‘sharpshooter’ Brevin Galloway shot a whopping 2-13 from the field, 1-12 from behind the arc, helping his team to 6-28 from distance. Syracuse’s defense wasn’t good but it didn’t have to be with how abysmally Earl Grant’s team shot the basketball. Neither team should be happy with their performance, though SU did have one player shine through. Cole Swider was unequivocally the best player on the court.
Swider’s team-leading 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals were the difference-maker for SU last night, and best of all, the Villanova transfer did it efficiently. The forward finished 6-11 from the field, 5-8 from three. This is the player that was advertised to Syracuse during the transfer portal, and they’re finally getting him when it matters most.
What this performance means, is Syracuse needs to trust Cole Swider down the stretch if they’re actually going to make a run. If SU genuinely thinks it has a chance at the NCAA tournament this season, it’s going to have to give Cole Swider when they need a score. Buddy Boeheim is obviously that guy for the majority of the time, but in a game like last night’s where he didn’t have it, Swider needs to be another trusted option.
If Jim Boheim can get that kind of production out of him on most nights, Syracuse is in a much better spot than anyone thought going into this win streak following a gruesome loss to Pitt.
The options for this team have fluctuated all year long.
Buddy of course has been #1 for the entirety of the year, but those directly beneath him have swapped places plenty. Near the beginning, it was clear that Joe Girard had come to play this season. The third-year guard was averaging around 20 points per game through the first few games of the season. When he and the rest of the team lost all momentum in Atlantis it was Jimmy Boeheim that stepped up as that clear #2. Boeheim’s eldest son was the only one to accompany his brother in the double-digit point club against VCU, and then a couple of games later he finished 1 point behind Buddy to be the second-leading scorer in SU’s double-OT win over Indiana inside the Dome. Then out of nowhere Jesse Edwards became an animal, showing off an offensive skill set no one really thought he possessed. The dutch big was on another level, scoring at ease against plenty of ACC opponents, though still inconsistent at times. Now down the stretch, it’s Swider who’s finally joined the party. After his performance last night, the forward is 14 for his last 19 three-point shots. If that’s not impressive I’m not sure what is. Cole has shown up at the exact right time for a team that needs a jolt if it has any hope of making the NCAA tournament. If Swider can keep this play up and Syracuse keeps winning, tournament hopes are very narrowly alive.