With Syracuse men‚Äôs basketball coming off a stinging 71-59 defeat at Virginia Tech last Saturday, a strong performance against Boston College (9-16, 4-11 ACC) a week later became all the more imperative. In front of over 23,000 fans in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse (14-12, 8-7 ACC) pulled off the feat in convincing fashion 76-56 for a regular-season sweep of the Eagles.
Though BC entered the day with a 9-15 record, the Eagles‚Äô defense slowed down Syracuse‚Äôs high-scoring offense early on. 14 minutes into the first half, neither team had yet to break 25 points, and Boston College trailed SU by just eight points. However, in what would be a theme on a day of long Syracuse runs, the Orange pulled away on a 13-6 run to end the half and entered the break leading 36-21. Later in the second half, Syracuse pulled away for good on a 12-2 stretch that effectively buried the Eagles.
In the team‚Äôs second straight game without injured center Jesse Edwards, Syracuse barely lost the rebound battle 40-35. Sophomore center Frank Anselem saw a diminished role at the glass after a 15-board performance against Virginia Tech last week, and pulled down just three rebounds. Forward Jimmy Boeheim led Syracuse‚Äôs rebounding effort with 10.
However, Boston College often couldn‚Äôt do anything with the rebounds they pulled down. The Eagles shot a dreadful 34.8% from the field as a team – including a 5-28 mark from deep – good for the team‚Äôs sixth-worst shooting performance of the year. Center James Karnik led all BC shooters with 11 points on a 5-10 afternoon. SU‚Äôs defense effectively neutralized BC‚Äôs usual scoring threats in guards Jaeden Zackery (8 points, 3-10 FGs) and DeMarr Langford Jr. (10 points, 4-5 shooting) after both put up double-digit point totals against SU back on February 8th.
In the meantime, Syracuse relied on its inside shooting more often than its usual deep threats. Although SU hit 10 of its 23 three-pointers on the day, usual sharpshooters in guard Buddy Boeheim (2 for 8 on threes) and forward Cole Swider (3 for 5) had relatively quiet days from beyond the arc. However, Boeheim and Swider both put up 18 points to tie for the team lead on the day. Syracuse outscored BC inside the paint 36-32.
Syracuse never trailed against Boston College on the afternoon, and a solid lead gave head coach Jim Boeheim the chance to dip into his bench. Guard Symir Torrence and center Bourama Sidibe both logged double-digit minutes, with Sidibe‚Äôs appearance marking just his sixth of the year following back-to-back seasons with serious knee injuries. Freshman forward Benny Williams also appeared for eight minutes and notched two points, snapping a nine-game 0-11 shooting slump that dated back to January 8th.
Up next for SU is the team‚Äôs final regular season game against a team with a losing record. The Orange face off against Georgia Tech (10-15, 3-11 ACC) on Monday, February 21st. Tipoff from the Dome is at 7 P.M.