Syracuse men’s basketball clobbers Boston College, 76-56, honors a legend at halftime

SU men's basketball clobbers Boston College, 76-56

Orange hoops pioneer Manny Breland, the first Black man offered a basketball scholarship at SU, drew applause at the Dome on Saturday.
Published: February 19, 2022 | Updated: February 21st, 2022 at 10:13 am
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Syracuse's Bourama Sidibe (middle) scored two points in 18 minutes during SU's 20-point win on Saturday.

The Syracuse men’s basketball team blew out Boston College, 76-56, at the Dome on Saturday afternoon. Buddy Boeheim and Cole Swider led the Orange with 18 points each. Jimmy Boeheim put up a double-double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

But the real star of Saturday’s game was Emmanuel “Manny” Breland. The former Orange basketball player was the first Black man to be offered a basketball scholarship at Syracuse University in 1952.

He was honored in a ceremony at halftime that featured Syracuse University Athletic Director John Wildhack and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. After graduating, Breland remained in his native Syracuse and became the city’s first black principal.

“I knew him since I was in college–40 years,” coach Jim Boeheim said after the game. “He was always a great leader in the community. He was one of those really good guys.”

The Orange had essentially put the game away before Breland’s halftime ceremony. They were able to put together two big runs in the first half. The first came after Jim Boeheim brought on the bench unit, who provided great energy and scored in transition. Symir Torrence assisted Benny Williams on a fastbreak layup. Then Buddy hit a 3 before Bourama Sidibe stole the ball and finished in transition to put the Orange up 10 heading into a media timeout.

“[We scored] six or eight points in a row with the smaller lineup in there so we took advantage of that,” Jim said.

With just under six minutes left in the first half, Jimmy scored six straight points.

“I had a couple good matchups there and guys got me the ball in good places,” Jimmy said. “I just try to take advantage of those matchups.”

Syracuse's Symir Torrence, left, makes a move in the post against Boston College's Makai Ashton-Langford.
Syracuse's Symir Torrence (left) makes a move in the post against Boston College's Makai Ashton-Langford.

All six of those points, along with 10 of Jimmy’s 13 points, were scored in the paint.

“I just tried to get downhill, get to the rim, and make something happen. I ended up having some good lanes and just went up and finished,” Jimmy said. “Just trying to pick and choose my moments whenever they come. I’m not trying to force anything.”

To go along with Syracuse’s strong offensive performance, in which they finished the game with a 51% field goal percentage, they also delivered on the defensive end. The Orange limited Boston College to 35% from the field and just 18% from behind the line.

“We made (Boston College) take secondary shots,” Jim said. “We didn’t let them get the first one. I thought we did a good job defensively overall.”

In the second half, the Orange continued what they started in the first. When it seemed like Boston College might have a chance to swing the momentum they were unable to get a run going.

Between the Eagles’ poor shooting and Buddy and Swider’s scoring, the Eagles were unable to reopen the contest. The Orange didn’t lead by less than 12 points for the rest of the game.

With 1:23 left in the game – the result certain at that point – Jim put reserve guard Paddy Casey into the game. As his name was read by the announcer, the Dome crowd gave its loudest cheer of the afternoon.

The Dome exploded after Casey scored an and-1 layup on a fastbreak. He made the following free throw to put SU up 20 with 11 seconds remaining in the game.

Syracuse's Joseph Girard III (11) surveys the paint and looks for a passing lane as Boston College's Jaeden Zackery defends.
Syracuse's Joseph Girard III (11) surveys the paint and looks for a passing lane as Boston College's Jaeden Zackery defends.