By David Hayden | @SluggySports
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS – Buddy Boeheim recorded his second straight game with 30 or more points and tied his career-high with seven 3-pointers to lead Syracuse to a 78-62 victory against San Diego State and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Boeheim, a junior guard, scored 30 points, shooting 11-for-15 from the floor and 7-for-10 on 3-pointers in 34 minutes.
Boeheim’s 30 points were the most by a Syracuse player in an NCAA Tournament game since Wes Johnson scored 31 points during a win against Gonzaga in the Second Round of the 2010 tournament.
Syracuse (17-9) will meet West Virginia in the second round.
Boeheim, who is the son of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, expressed his feelings after having a big game in the tournament in front of his dad.
“It’s everything to me,” he said. “It is a great feeling.”
Most student-athletes will have parent support from the crowd, but his experience is different with his father on the sideline supporting him.
“He believed in me before I believed in myself,” Boeheim said. “He’s been my biggest motivator, my biggest supporter. I’ll never take it for granted.”
After a slow start, Boeheim brought the Orange back by scoring all 11 of Syracuse’s points during an 11-6 scoring stretch. Boeheim’s 11 points were part of an eight-minute stretch in which he scored 16 consecutive points for Syracuse.
A 3-pointer from Boeheim at the 9:22 mark sparked an eruption on the offensive end for the Orangemen. Syracuse scored 18-straight points over the remainder of the half with Boeheim’s 16 points, including 3-for-4 from three.
“In warmups I felt great,” he said. “I felt like I couldn’t miss any shot.”
Boeheim credited the Syracuse staff for the information that helped the Orange slow down the Aztecs (23-5).
“Scouts and coaches did a great job preparing us,” says Boeheim. “We did everything we needed to do on the defensive end. We walled guys up and we knew who the shooters were.”
The Syracuse zone limited the Aztecs to 35.8% from the field and 27.5% from 3-point range.
Boeheim’s total of seven 3-pointers was the second-most by a Syracuse player in an NCAA Tournament game. Current Syracuse assistant coach Gerry McNamara holds the record with nine triples in a win against Brigham Young in the first round of the 2004 NCAA tournament.
When Boeheim was pulled out of the game with 1:27 left, the Syracuse fans gave him a standing ovation as he went to the bench and hugged the assistant coach.
“It means everything to me having him G-Mac as an assistant coach.” Boeheim said.
“He told me he was proud of me and I told him I love him.”