It almost felt like an old school pickup game Wednesday night at the Dome. There was pushing, tugging, steals, turnovers, and a lot of missed shots. It certainly wasn’t a pretty game.
Yet when the final horn sounded, Buddy Boeheim’s Orange team beat Jimmy Boeheim’s Big Red team by 19 points.
It seemed closer than the 72-53 final score.
Syracuse, still searching for the most effective on-court combination, got inspired efforts in the game’s final 20 minutes by first-year player Quincy Guerrier and junior Marek Dolezaj along with clutch Elijah Hughes to pull past pesky Cornell.
But the spotlight was on the Boeheim boys who kept their respective teams in the game during the sloppy first half. Buddy, who is now a mainstay in his father’s starting lineup as a sophomore guard, started it off by drilling his first 3-ponter just two minutes into the game
Jimmy, who is now a 6-8 junior and his team’s best player, played aggressively from the opening tip, roaming the baseline waiting for a teammate to find him or muscling inside the paint for lay-ups or getting hacked where he made a home at the free throw line.
Jimmy bested his little brother, scoring 25 points to Buddy’s 16, who is playing with more confidence in his second year. Buddy had the advantage of a stronger supporting cast, including Guerrier, who sparked a run that helped SU pull away from Cornell. Hughes, who is SU’s go-to-guy this year, finished with 22 points.
“He played really well but I’ll take the win any day,” Buddy said about his brother after his team secured its third straight win since the season-opening loss to Virginia. “I’m happy that we both got the opportunity to play against each other.”
For most of the contest, Cornell kept the game close by using every second of the 30-second shot clock to pick through Syracuse’s stingy zone defense. At the other end, the Orange, directed by freshly anointed starting point guard Joe Girard III, tried to establish an effective outside game.
For the record, SU made 10-of-27 from beyond the arc. Cornell made 6-of-27.
“We had good looks all game long,” Buddy admitted. “We knew they were going to fall.”
For their Dad, Coach Boeheim praised Cornell’s tenacity in carrying out a strategic game plan. He also knows it is early in the season and his Orange have a long way to go before it can compete at a high level in the rugged ACC.
“We have to be better defensively,” Coach Boeheim pointed out. “Jimmy got in the lane and that’s where he is really good.”
Cornell, he added, is a smart, well-coached team. However he doesn’t take comfort beating Jimmy’s team.
“I don’t really like coaching against my son,” he said, “but I have to do it once a year.”
Buddy admitted his father is proud of “both of us” for their growth as basketball players as well as young men off the court.
On this night, Syracuse, behind the younger Boeheim, beat his older brother’s Ivy League squad. But it wasn’t easy.
“At the end of the day a win’s a win,” Buddy said, “It’s a good win but we have a lot of work to do.”