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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Five minutes into the game, Florida State and Syracuse were tied at eight, and the Seminoles’ Caleb Mills had a chance to take the lead. But his 3-pointer from the wing rimmed out, and Cole Swider jumped in for the rebound.
Swider passed to Joe Girard III, who snaked his way up the court. As Girard paused near the top of the arc, he saw Swider tailing the play to his left. He quickly swung a pass to Swider, who caught it in stride to knock down his first 3 of the game.
That 3-pointer from Swider was the closest FSU got for the rest of the game as Syracuse (16-16, 9-11 Atlantic Coast) ran away from Florida State (17-14, 10-10 ACC) to a 96-57 victory in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Swider’s 20 first-half points provided a huge scoring boost as the Orange’s lead grew to 23 points by halftime. He’d score eight more points in the second half as head coach Jim Boeheim began to rest his starters with Syracuse’s chances of victory becoming more assured.
“(The Seminoles) come off of shooters sometimes. They really focus on gap defense, helping in the gap,” Swider said. “So we emphasize in practice all the time moving without the ball and making sure we get to the open spots.”
Swider’s day was quite similar to the 36-point game he put together nine days ago in Chapel Hill against North Carolina where he shot 67% from the field and made seven 3-pointers. And in Brooklyn on Wednesday, FSU struggled to keep up with Swider and the rest of SU’s offense.
To get to his spot more often, Swider used his defense and rebounding abilities to create scoring opportunities. Two minutes after Swider’s first 3, Mills tried again for a 3 from the same spot, but Swider was already in his face and rose up for the block.
After the block, Swider grabbed the loose ball and passed to Buddy Boeheim, who stormed down the court for a layup. Buddy missed his layup, but Swider was right behind him to snag the offensive rebound and get the easy putback layup.
“I think that Cole has rebounded all year. He’s fought in there,” Boeheim said.
The Seminoles tried to reply quickly, but Tanor Ngom missed his jumper and Swider again snatched the defensive rebound. This time, Swider took it himself to his spot, dribbling up the court and to the left wing where he had made his first shot. Once he arrived at his spot, Swider immediately picked up his dribble and splashed a 3 over Wyatt Wilkes.
Later, Girard brought the ball up as Swider stood still in the corner and waited for the ball to come to him before he rose up and drained another 3 over Wilkes.
But Swider’s most emphatic contribution came late in the first half as Syracuse was pulling away from the Seminoles. Down 15, FSU’s RayQuan Evans tried to initiate some offense. But his pass to Harrison Prieto bounced off Prieto’s chest, and Symir Torrence stepped in to grab the loose ball.
As Torrence rushed down the court, Swider hustled from his spot in the low block of SU’s zone to in front of Torrence. The guard quickly passed it to Swider, who leapt into the air for the fast-break dunk, forcing an FSU timeout.
“Sy(mir) did a great job getting everyone involved, and it was a great game,” Swider said.
Swider later drew a foul on a 3-pointer in the corner as he fell to the ground, and he drained all three free throws. In the second half it was more of the same as Swider quickly hit a 3 in front of his bench and drew the foul, hitting the free throw for a four-point play. He ended the night shooting 60% from the field and 67% from beyond the arc.
“As a shooter, once you see the ball go through, your eyes widen up,” Swider said. “It was definitely good. These guys found me.”
The post Cole Swider’s 28 points power SU to blowout win over Florida State appeared first on The Daily Orange.