There is no other way this season should have ended than what happened in the Dome on Saturday. Syracuse led by eleven over Miami at halftime. In the second half, that got extended to an 18 point advantage. Then, the Orange did what they do best and fall apart, losing 75-72 to the Hurricanes. With the defeat, Syracuse ends the regular season below .500 in the Boeheim era.
Although you could sense the game was slipping away in the second half, the last minute the pure stupidity by everyone on the Syracuse side. Jimmy Boeheim not being able to inbound the ball. Joe Girard’s horrible shot selection. Cole Swider turning the ball over. Jim Boeheim deciding to sub in John Bol Ajak who gave up the game winning rebound and tip in. It was everyone. You couldn’t have scripted a worse ending.
Although the final minute was atrocious, there were some positives to the game. So, let’s break out the red pens and the trustee Fizz Report Card to recap the regular season finale.
Buddy Boeheim – A
Buddy was Buddy yet again on Saturday. He was the only player Syracuse had. In his final game playing in the Dome, the senior dropped 30 points and was red hot from the outside, going 5-9. 30! On Senior Day! With the performance, Boeheim became the ACC’s leading scorer for the season.
There were times the Syracuse offense got extremely stale and slow, and Buddy was the only one that the Orange could go to for a bucket. The other usual suspects just couldn’t handle the Miami defense, so more fell on Boeheim’s shoulders. He had 18 in the first, which was more than half of the entire Hurricanes team.
It has been fascinating to see Buddy’s growth as a scorer throughout the years. As a freshman no one thought he was going to amount to anything. Then, he became just a spot up shooter. Now, you trust him to put the ball on the deck and get to the inside. Buddy is just as dangerous with his little backdown turnaround fader than he is with a wide open three. The final score is not what he deserves, but there is no other way Buddy should have gone out than with a 30-piece. He has earned his grade and so much more. A true Orange legend.
Joe Girard – B-
Girard’s grade began as a C+, then about every three minutes in the second half, it got bumped up. At one point, he was a B+, but he shot right down after his horrible shot selection at the end of the game. With Syracuse down by one, he went coast to coast, took a bad, contested, off-balance free throw line jumper. Sure, he hit the game tying bucket against North Carolina, but the final shot on Saturday should have absolutely come from Buddy Boeheim. Classic Joe being Joe!
Throughout the game Girard struggled to handle the full court press and on-ball pressure by Miami. The Hurricanes proved yet again that he isn’t a point guard. Girard should be a shooting guard through and through.
The one positive for JG3 was his ability to knock down clutch shots in the second. Whether there was a defender draped on him, or he was left alone, Joe found his stroke and was nailing everything, except that last shot of course. He finished with 17 points and hit four threes.
Cole Swider – C
Remember when Swider dropped a career high 36 points earlier in the week? Yeah, that same guy did not show up to the Dome on Saturday. Instead, it was a Swider that only managed six points on 2-9 shooting. Offensively, he looked flustered throughout the game and just couldn’t buy a bucket. Defensively, Swider’s side of the zone got picked on multiple times and wasn’t quick enough to stay with the ball.
It took a while to realize this, but Syracuse fans just shouldn’t expect anything other than rebounding from Swider. He has his on and off days offensively, but he is just never consistent. So, set the offensive expectations low and be happily surprised when he goes off. Defensively, expect him to give up some buckets and pull in a good amount of rebounds.
Jimmy Boeheim – B
Jimmy was solid on Saturday, there’s not many other ways to describe it. He led the team with nine rebounds and helped with 14 points. The senior was crashing the boards and played better defense than his norm. Jimmy only went 4-16 from the field, which is less than ideal. He was exactly what he has been this season – a solid, consistent piece on the inside.
Bourama Sidibe – B+
Let’s put this in context. Based on these grades, one would think Sidibe was the second-best player on the court today for Syracuse. That is not the case. However, when you compare Sidibe’s performance today compared to what he has been doing in the past, it was one of his best showings since his injuries.
There was one specific stretch that looked like vintage Sidibe. Early in the second half, he jumped the passing lane and caused a turnover. Then, instead of just jogging up the court and letting the guards handle the fastbreak, Sidibe sprinted ahead, caught a lob pass in the paint, kept the ball above the defenders and finished at the rim. It was exactly what you teach big men to do.
Sidibe finished with four points and six rebounds.
Frank Anselem – B
Anselem was as solid as you would expect of him. He, just like Sidibe, were not one of the best players on the court, but he did player better than expected. Anselem didn’t provide much of an offensive boost, but he was much more active on the boards than he has been recently, grabbing five rebounds.
Boeheim has been on Anselem recently about not playing well. On Saturday he got multiple offensive rebounds and immediately kicked them out to the scorers. That is all Syracuse needs Anselem to do. Maybe he should have stayed in the game, instead of subbing in Ajak who allowed the last second rebound and put back. From all of these grades, you’d expect a Syracuse win. No one was atrociously bad, except Swider. This team just doesn’t want to win. They find a new way to lose every game. This season has been an embarrassment to the Syracuse