Syracuse men’s basketball takes down St. Rose in first exhibition

SU men's basketball wins first exhibition game against St. Rose

New faces Boeheim, Hughes score 19 points apiece.
Published: October 26, 2018
Sophomore Oshae Brissett lead Orange scorers with 22 . points during Syracuse's 77-45 exhibition win over College of St. Rose on Oct. 25, 2018, at the Carrier Dome.

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team needed a spark. Returning stars Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle have struggled offensively, and the Orange are only up eight points late in the first half over Division II opponent, College of Saint Rose. Enter Buddy Boeheim, the freshman son of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.

With just around one minute left in the half, Saint Rose switched to a zone defense. Brissett gets in the paint, turns and feeds a wide open Boeheim on the right wing, who rises up and knocks down a three-pointer. Then, with the half winding down, Brissett snatches a defensive board and flings it down to Buddy Boeheim, who pulls up from well beyond the three-point arc to beat the buzzer and put the Orange up 14 points heading into half.

Buddy Boeheim played 28 minutes of the exhibition, and impressed throughout his first start – albeit unofficial – for Syracuse. The freshman dropped 19 points, shot 54 percent from the field and 43 percent from downtown, as Syracuse topped Saint Rose 80-49.

The shooting ability that Boeheim showed on Thursday night will be needed for a Syracuse team that ranked 326th last season in three-point shooting percentage.

Buddy Boeheim shoots over a Saint Rose defender. Boeheim finished with 19 points in his Syracuse debut.
Buddy Boeheim, who finished with 19 points in his Syracuse debut, shoots over a Saint Rose defender.

“Well, I was glad he was out there,” said Head Coach Jim Boeheim in a joking manner about coaching his son at the Carrier Dome. “He had some great shots.”

With the injuries to impact guards Frank Howard and highly-touted freshman Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim and redshirt junior Elijah Hughes started alongside Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Paschal Chukwu for the Orange.

Hughes, a transfer from East Carolina University, was a major contributor for the Orange against the Golden Knights. Thursday night was also a huge milestone for Hughes. It was the first game the junior had played in over two years as he had to sit out last season due to the NCAA’s transfer policy.

The 6-foot-6 forward showed flashes of great scoring and defensive ability in the blowout win. In the opening minutes of the game, Hughes picked off a pass from the wing took it the other way for a transition dunk. He also showed off great versatility and looked fairly comfortable defending up top and on the wing in Boeheim’s 2-3 zone defense.

Other than his energetic defense, Hughes also exhibited a nice scoring touch. He finished the game with 19 points, but more importantly, he was highly efficient. Hughes shot 57 percent from the field and knocked down three of six from three-point range as well. Just like with Boeheim, Hughes’ three-point stroke will go a long way for the Orange offense this season.

Brissett and Chukwu also had solid showings against St. Rose. Brissett, who had a slow start, really picked up his scoring in the second half, finishing with a game-high 22 points. Chukwu showed some great hustle when he dove into the second row of stands in the middle of the second half to try and save a loose ball. The 7-foot-2 center also nabbed 11 rebounds and recorded three blocks as well.

While this game may just have been an exhibition against a Division II team, the stellar performances of newcomers Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes are huge breakthroughs for coach Jim Boeheim. Having solid secondary options such as Hughes and Boeheim coming off the bench will prevent the Syracuse offense from stagnating at stages during games.

Once Carey and Howard both return, Syracuse should have a pretty solid rotation with nine players potentially getting regular minutes. This newfound depth allows coach Boeheim to experiment a little bit defensively. Syracuse also showed off some full court press against Saint Rose, and it will be interesting to see if Boeheim consistently sticks with it.

The Orange have one exhibition game next week against Le Moyne. After that, regular season play kicks off for No. 16 Syracuse against Eastern Washington on Nov. 6.