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Buddy Boeheim didn’t want this heartwarming fairytale to end, he wanted to shoot his father back to the Sweet 16.
Jim Boeheim may not be the mushy type, but he didn’t want it to end either, he had never coached his son in a Sweet 16.
And now it was up to Buddy Boeheim to take them there.
And here’s what Buddy Boeheim did:
He transformed into Buddy Buckets.
He erupted for 22 second-half points and sank a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left as the Orange held off a furious West Virginia charge for a 75-72 victory. The Rutgers-Houston winner is next.
It was a halftime pep talk from Orange aide Gerry McNamara that ignited him. Son of Jim had been 1 of 6 shooting in the first half. He finished 8 of 17.
“First half I got a lot of clean looks I was frustrated about, but G-Mac just came up to me at halftime and said, ‘I don’t care if you miss 200, just keep shooting.’ I said, ‘All right, if I get clean looks I’m gonna have to take them and I’m gonna start making them,’ ” Buddy said.
And afterwards, Buddy Boeheim showed he could play defense too.
With a defense of his father, who has taken yet another double-digit seed (11) to a Sweet 16.
“It means everything,” Buddy said. “I saw a lot of stuff on Twitter talking about him, just crazy stuff, how he’s been not doing well the last 10 years. Do you know how many people would dream about going to two Sweet 16s, two Final Fours and an Elite 8 in 10 years? I think that’s pretty good, he’s never had a losing season and back in the Sweet 16, he continues to do it.
“He’s one of the best coaches in all of sports, there’s no one better. I think he continues to prove that.
“It’s no better feeling helping bring him to another Sweet 16. It just shows how great he is and the greatness he continues to have.”
Joe Girard III had missed the front end of a one-and-one and the desperate Mountaineers trailed 74-72 with 4.5 ticks left.
Buddy Boeheim reached high for the inbounds pass and was fouled with 2.2 seconds left.
Son of Jim made the first, missed the second and Miles McBride traveled against a trap and Father of Buddy and Son of Jim get to continue their family affair.
“He’s made himself into a really good player,” Father of Buddy said. “He works harder than anybody I’ve ever coached, and it’s not close. He deserves this.”
Buddy Boeheim, who had hit a pair of 3s early in the second half, drilled another pair of 3s to give the Orange breathing room after the Mountaineers had closed to within 2.
Until Sean McNeil answered with his sixth 3 to give West Virginia the lead at last at 53-52.
Syracuse led 46-37 when 6-foot-10 forward Marek Dolejaz committed his fourth foul on a charge with 14:56 left.
Then 6-11 center Jesse Edwards picked up his fourth foul with 12:48, and McNeil drilled his third 3 to bring the Mountaineers to within 46-42.
With the Orange getting dominated on the boards, Boeheim The Coach had decided to send Dolejaz back in with his four fouls.
The Orange had dominated for much of the first half before the Mountaineers cut a 14-point deficit to 35-29 at intermission.
And Dolejaz had inexcusably picked up his third foul with four seconds remaining in the first half.
Girard, the pride of Glens Falls, N.Y., who scored 60 or more points twice at Glens Falls High, picked up the slack for Buddy Boeheim with four 3s. Buddy Buckets.
Boeheim (three first-half points) had picked up where he left off when he drained a 3 in the opening minute.
Then he went cold.
The disoriented Mountaineers missed their first five shots and went scoreless over the first four minutes. The Orange drilled five 3s to build an early nine-point lead. Dolejaz took a pair of charges inside the first nine minutes.
A disgusted Huggins called timeout after Quincy Guerrier drove past Culver for the lay-in that made it Syracuse 26, West Virginia 12.
Jalen Bridges had the ball underneath on one sequence and was immediately surrounded and suffocated by three Syracuse defenders, was forced to kick the ball out, imminent turnover. One of 11 for the Mountaineers in the first half.
A pair of long 3s by McNeil helped awaken the Mountaineers towards the end of the half.
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