Syracuse defeated Boston College 73-64 Tuesday night at the Conte Forum. The Orange never trailed, but despite that, the game never felt comfortable. SU got good performances from a couple of unlikely guys. Cole Swider had his most important game in Orange.
The senior forward dropped 21 points, his most against a power conference team this season, and corralled eight rebounds as well. The Villanova transfer is shooting almost 75% from three over SU’s four-game winning streak. He’s been a huge reason why the Orange have gone from 9-11 to 13-11.
Syracuse’s second most important player last night might have been Frank Anselem. Jesse Edwards had his worst game of the season, sitting on the bench in foul trouble all night. Anselem played 23 minutes and had five points and six rebounds. Without his ability to fill in for Edwards, the Orange could have been in major trouble.
Buddy Boeheim had an off night as well. He scored 14 points in the first 21 minutes of the game and zero in the last 19. But, it’s a good thing he was off in the second half because that’s when Joe Girard III shined. The junior guard went a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line to seal the game down the stretch.
So, moving away from the box score, Syracuse is very lucky they were playing Boston College and not anyone else in the ACC. A performance like this, getting outrebounded, on the road, Buddy struggling, is exactly the recipe for SU to drop a game they desperately need to win.
Jim Boeheim said after the game that he believes his team is tired after a couple of road trips going back to last Wednesday’s late-night win at NC State. But, he is also proud of his team for the way they’ve played over this stretch.
Most teams are not going to shoot 6-28 (21%) from three, especially against the 2-3 zone which forces you to shoot threes. Brevin Galloway helped the Orange by going 1-12 himself, while on the other end SU went 11-24, just under 50%.
Boston College is bad. They’re 154th on kenpom and 182nd in offensive efficiency. That is not good. Syracuse got lucky they played a team that has a hard time putting the ball in the basket. If this was almost any other ACC team, it is likely a double-digit loss.
But, Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech will be the toughest test of the last five games. After that, a couple of home contests against ACC bottom dwellers BC (again) and Georgia Tech should be comfortable wins. But, If they play this way this weekend in Blacksburg, the winning streak will go up in flames.