Cole world. Cole life. Cole blooded?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Cole Swider stepped to the free throw line with his Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team clinging to a one point lead as only 10.2 second remained.
Swider was fouled and had just grabbed a towel from his team’s bench, wiped his hands clean of sweat and as he tossed the towel back he gave a wink to his Syracuse teammates. As he did, Buddy Boeheim shouted over to his head coach.
“Are we going to foul?” Buddy asked Jim Boeheim.
Syracuse was only up one at the time.
“I had no worries at all,” Buddy said. “I knew right away he was going to make both.”
“I didn’t have a doubt, “Jimmy Boeheim added. “(I have) a lot of confidence in him. We all do.”
Swider stepped up to the nail and made a pair. Both attempts fell right down the middle. He put Syracuse up three and the best Florida State could do at that point was tie the game with a three on a night when the Seminoles had shot 13.3% from outside.
Still, Syracuse wanted to foul up three. That’s even after the Orange fouled up three against Indiana on Tuesday night and Trayce Jackson-Davis forced overtime with an offensive rebound and two free throws.
Against Florida State, the Orange just failed to execute.
“We wanted to foul but when we did foul last time it didn’t work,” Jim Boeheim said. “So I guess maybe it was a good thing we didn’t foul.”
On a night when Swider had struggled shooting the ball early, he made the two most important free throws of the night. He says he was confident, having been in that position before at Villanova.
“Just win the game,” Swider said of his thought process when stepping to the line. “We practice that every single day. Coach Boeheim at the end of every practice puts us on the free throw line and if you miss, you run. We’re used to that.”
Buddy Boeheim said he was happy for Swider. Joe Girard, too.
“It was awesome. We needed him to do that obviously,” Girard said. “We were confident in him. He was confident in himself. He’s a confident player. We know he’s a great shooter and there was no doubt they were going in.”
Swider, who was so good for Syracuse from 3-point land in the preseason, has struggled at times to make outside shots. He’s just 10-36 (27.8%) on the season, but his coaches and teammates believe it’s only a matter of time before the law of averages takes over.
“I know Cole’s going to make eight or 10 of these 3s one of these days,” Jim Boeheim said. “He started out 1-for-6 I think. Then he hit a couple. … If they’re going to face-guard Joe and Buddy that way, Cole is going to get shots. He’s going to have to cash them in and I think he will as he gets a little bit more game experience with us.”
With a game against his former team, Villanova, looming on Tuesday night, that would be as good of a time as any for Swider to get going from range.
“It’s only a matter of time before he makes a ton of ‘em at a high clip. It’s coming. I promise you that,” Jimmy Boeheim finished.