Syracuse defense stymies Boston College to rout the Eagles
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By MARK FRANK
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) It was way back in the 20th century, the 1996-97 season to be precise, when Syracuse lost its first three conference games at home as a member of the Big East.
The Orange was in no mood to make history Wednesday night, routing Boston College 76-50 for its first Atlantic Coast Conference win in four tries in the Carrier Dome.
Buddy Boeheim scored 22 points, Marek Dolezaj had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds and the Syracuse defense held Boston College to 33% from the field en route to the easy win.
"We didn't talk about it (not winning at home)," Dolezaj said. "We just want to win. We didn't think about it. That's just how it is. We just need to focus a little better at home and win here. It's frustrating, 100%, not defending your home court. You want to win every single game at home."
Syracuse (10-7, 3-3 ACC) went on a 29-8 run over the final 10 minutes of the first half to take control of the game.
Boeheim scored 15 of his points in the first half, outscoring the entire BC team. Syracuse, not normally a running team, scored 24 fast-break points in the game.
Elijah Hughes had 19 points and five assists for the Orange. Joe Girard chipped in with 12.
"I thought our offense was good, our movement was good," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who had the rare luxury of giving his bench significant minutes. "I thought our defense was really good the first half. We were able to get the defense going and that was the difference. Overall, I thought it was a solid game for us."
The Eagles (9-8, 3-3 ACC) were just 5 of 27 from the field in the first half and 0 for 14 from beyond the arc. BC, who shoots just 30% from 3-point range, missed its first 18 3s until Julian Rishwain connected from long range with 13:43 remaining in the game.
"We're not shooting the ball, man. I think we're 3 for our last 32 from 3 in our last two games (2 for 24), something crazy like that, going into halftime," BC coach Jim Christian said. "There's not much you can do if you can't put the ball in the basket. We just have to get out of it.
"We're not a good shooting team and they're a good defensive team. We knew what they were doing. It's not like they came out and surprised us. We had some shots you've got to make. We didn't," Christian added.
BC was 20 of 61 for the game and 6 for 30 from 3.
C.J. Felder and Jairus Hamilton each scored nine for the Eagles. Felder had nine rebounds.
Hughes, who took a hard fall in the first half but returned to have his usual solid game, said the Orange is picking up a bit of steam with two straight wins after two tough losses.
"We had two rough losses at home and that hurt," he said. "It seems like a roller coaster, just up and down. Our confidence is up and we're feeling good."
The Eagles missed their first nine shots of the game and didn't hit their first field goal until Jared Hamilton scored on a jumper eight minutes in. But they trailed just 6-3 as the Orange was almost as cold, opening the contest going 2 of 9.
"I thought it was real important to win at home," Buddy Boeheim said. "The three losses we've had here really hurt. We want to be able to defend the home court because I feel the Dome is the best place to play in college basketball."
A Jay Heath layup brought the Eagles to within four at 9-5 with 10:22 to go in the first 20 minutes but then the Orange got hot, outscoring the Eagles 29-8 the rest of the first half to take a 38-13 lead into intermission, Syracuse's largest halftime lead since joining the ACC.
Derryck Thornton, BC's leading scorer, returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games. He was just 2 of 7 and 0 for 4 from 3.
HEY, GOOD BUDDY:
Boeheim was 9 of 17 from the field and 4 for 7 from 3, another solid effort for the sophomore guard.
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK:
After upsetting Virginia, BC has suffered consecutive big losses.
SURVIVING THE FALL:
Elijah Hughes, who came out midway through the first half, said he didn't think his injury was "anything major, just a hard fall." Syracuse better hope so.
Boston College: Coach Jim Christian said he didn't think his team "has competed as hard as we're capable of competing" in the last two games. With consecutive road games coming up, the Eagles will have to shoot their way out of their funk.
Syracuse: The Orange has four winnable games coming up and must take advantage to have a glimmer of hope to make the NCAA Tournament. Right now, it's still a long shot.
The Eagles go for a season sweep Sunday at Wake Forest.
Syracuse will attempt to avenge a home loss against Virginia Tech when they meet the Hokies Saturday in Blacksburg, Virginia.
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Updated January 15, 2020