Six weeks after they faced off in Tallahassee, Syracuse and Florida State reconvene on the Orange’s home court for the rematch Saturday afternoon.
Syracuse took the first contest, snapping Florida State’s 25-game home winning streak in Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 63-60 triumph on Dec. 4. The Orange (8-8, 2-3 ACC) went on to lose five of their next seven, but they rebounded with a 77-61 home victory over Pitt on Tuesday.
Coming off two games in which he shot a combined 7 of 27 from the field, Orange guard Buddy Boeheim shot 7 of 13, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, against the Panthers. He scored 24 points to lead Syracuse and will certainly be a defensive focal point for the Seminoles (9-5, 3-2).
“Like I said all year, I think Buddy is one of the best players in the country,” Syracuse forward Cole Swider said. “If you give him open looks, he’s going to make them. We’ve seen it in practice every single day.”
One of Boeheim’s two lowest-scoring outputs of the season came in the first matchup with the Seminoles. He scored six points on 3-of-10 shooting in that one. Swider made four 3-pointers that day en route to 16 points, and Joe Girard III also had 16 in a game in which both teams shot 34.9 percent from the field.
Caleb Mills scored 16 in that one to pace Florida State, which at the time was in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
The Seminoles since have won four of their past five games, most recently a 65-64 home victory over Miami on Tuesday. RayQuan Evans made two free throws in the final second to secure the victory for Florida State, which was led by freshman Matthew Cleveland’s 15 points.
“Very impressed and proud of these young guys,” Seminoles senior Malik Osborne said of Cleveland and the team’s other underclassmen. “These guys are going to be the difference between winning and losing.”
Mills leads Florida State in scoring at 12.6 points per game, while Osborne contributes 11.1 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Syracuse has five double-digit scorers on the season, led by Buddy Boeheim (18.9 ppg) and his older brother Jimmy Boeheim (14.8).