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As Syracuse attempted to erase a game-long deficit against then-No. 6 Duke on Saturday, it did so without the boost of Buddy Boeheim, its leading scorer at 18.6 points per game. He finished with seven points on 2-of-15 shooting including 1-for-10 from 3 — his worst shooting percentage since he went 1-for-12 against Northeastern on Dec. 16, 2020, and his most missed 3s since he missed nine against Cornell on Nov. 20, 2019.
Florida State, Villanova and Miami held him to three single-digit outputs, but in those contests, they eliminated his 3-point attempts altogether, as the SU senior only attempted 15 during that span. Against the Blue Devils, he attempted 10, and head coach Jim Boehiem said postgame that Buddy “got to the shots” and found the open looks that he, and SU, wanted.
But Duke, keyed by Wendell Moore Jr. and Jeremy Roach, found ways to predict which shots Buddy would attempt and eliminate those opportunities. One tendency was called “floppy action,” where Buddy could essentially choose from two screeners stationed on the blocks and curl around to help create a shot. Moore said that he tried to take one of those options away by steering Buddy toward a certain side, while also making “every shot a tough shot,” including in transition.
“If you make it, you make it,” Moore said. “If not, I did my job.”
Before SU travels to face Pitt on Tuesday, The Daily Orange broke down the film on Buddy’s nine 3-point misses against the Blue Devils, with rushed shots, attempts early in the shot clock and open looks that fell short. None of Buddy’s misses occurred after “floppy action,” meaning that Duke eliminated that entirely.
Miss No. 1: 18:08 left in the first half
Buddy starts this play in the corner, just like Duke would often do against Syracuse’s zone, and Joe Girard III initially tries to dish the ball over after Buddy curled around a screen from Jesse Edwards on the wing. But Edwards can’t bump Moore, tracking Buddy’s path, and the Duke forward prevents Girard’s pass.
Jimmy Boeheim then slides up to the right elbow and tries to screen Moore as Buddy jogs around the perimeter to the left wing. This time, Jimmy hardly makes contact with Moore, allowing him to maintain his defensive positioning.
The two screens throughout the set couldn’t get Buddy open, but he still ended up with an open look with the shot clock winding down — with Cole Swider driving into the paint after Buddy attempted to and couldn’t, leaving Buddy open in the corner for a shot that missed off the rim.
Miss No. 2: 16:00 left in first half
This was a quick miss after Paolo Banchero traveled and Syracuse brought the ball up the court following the out-of-bounds play. Buddy dribbles into a pull-up 3 on the right wing, flinging it toward the basket with his feet off-balanced heading into the air.
This is an example of a deep shot that Buddy tends to take but usually doesn’t force unless he’s established a rhythm with a few makes from beyond the arc. Moore isn’t able to track him closely since a half-court set hadn’t materialized before the shot’s release, so perhaps this miss can be attributed to Buddy forcing a heave early in the shot clock to prevent Moore from establishing his defensive presence as Buddy moved off-ball.
Miss No. 3: 8:26 left in first half
With Syracuse operating in its three-guard, small-ball lineup, this sequence started with Buddy collecting a steal inside the 2-3 zone and kickstarting the Orange’s transition offense. Here, he’s able to find Girard, the open man further up the court, and that pass also helped him create more space for himself off-ball with Roach — the Duke defender at the logo — sliding over to deter Girard from pulling up for a shot or driving to the basket. AJ Griffin, running from right to left across the court, represents the next closest Duke defender.
Because of that pass, and the ensuing path from Buddy, he ends up with an open shot as Griffin tries to recover from the free-throw line. It’s an open transition look that the Blue Devils wanted to avoid, which they were able to for the most part. This time, though, Buddy couldn’t capitalize on a rare open look.
Miss No. 4: 5:16 left in the first half
Frank Anselem grabs a defensive rebound and he runs alongside Symir Torrence up the court, and Torrence points out exactly where he wants the reserve center to settle. Buddy had sprinted up the left side of the court, reaching a spot behind the 3-point arc where Anselem could set a screen that he could curl around. If it worked, another open transition 3 would emerge.
Anselem’s screen worked. It kept Griffin from playing his tight position on Buddy, who had an uncontested shooting window. He missed again, sinking his shooting line to 0-for-4 as the first half wound down into its final quarter.
Miss No. 5: 4:00 left in the first half
This shot emerges from a broken play, and it starts when Buddy grabbed a defensive rebound and led SU’s transition sequence up the court. He tries to use another Anselem screen to free up a shot from behind the arc, but Griffin stays on Buddy through the contact. That’s become an emerging trend for the Orange and their screens, especially in the opening half of this game — they didn’t always work, and at times seemed to operate with more intention of hitting the roller than actually gaining space for the ball-handler itself.
Buddy threads a pass to Anselem once the center rolled, but it bounces toward the corner instead — where Buddy heaves an off-balanced 3 that hits the rim. It looks like Anselem tries to screen Griffin again in the corner, but instead it just creates more confusion around Buddy’s shot attempt. Lots of Buddy’s 3s were early in the shot clock, and this one, built off a transition break, was no exception.
Miss No. 6: 19:21 left in the second half
Out of all the open shots Buddy gathered against Duke, this is the most open. Jimmy, Swider and Buddy all cluster together in the paint before they break off in different directions — with Swider popping back out on the right wing, Jimmy cycling over to the left and Buddy using a screen from Edwards to reach the top of the key. Moore bursts through Edwards’ pick, and the newly created space doesn’t last long.
Buddy drives into the paint, but then turns around in the air and kicks it back out to Edwards who is still stationed at the top of the key outside of the 3-point arc. A miscommunication by the Blue Devils defense allowed Buddy to emerge wide open in the left corner — as the Duke defenders never slid over with him.
Miss No. 7: 15:11 left in the second half
Syracuse doesn’t even use a screen to get Buddy the ball this time. The pick action occurs on the left side of the offense between Jimmy and Swider instead, and on-ball between Girard and Edwards — who escapes from Duke center Mark Williams off the roll and slides toward the right block wide open.
But as soon as Buddy catches the ball, with limited space between him and Griffin, he elevates for the shot, another that takes place early in the shot clock, and misses.
Miss No. 8: 8:17 left in the second half
It takes seven minutes for Buddy to attempt his next 3-point shot. Edwards said postgame that SU recognized that its shots weren’t falling in the second half and needed to pivot to more of an interior approach — a possible reason for why Buddy only attempted three 3s in the final 15 minutes.
This time, it was a play designed to get Buddy an open look from behind the arc. Torrence, running point, dribbles the ball up the court and stations himself on the right wing. Edwards, serving as the screener, stands at the top of the key as Benny Williams curls around Edwards toward the right lane. Then, Buddy follows.
Buddy has already gained space from his Duke defender because of an off-ball screen by Jimmy near the left elbow, but Moore is still able to recover after Edwards’ pick and deny Buddy an uncontested 3 with the Orange trailing by 28. He catches the pass in stride, but in the couple steps needed to set his feet and elevate, Moore successfully recovers.
Miss No. 9: 5:20 left in the second half
This time, it’s Buddy who points out the development he wanted as SU pushed the ball in transition: a screen from Jimmy, standing just above him on the right wing, to free up a curl and an open 3. Banchero had back-peddaled near the right block, helping create space for Jimmy after Edwards, positioned just inside the 3-point arc, screens Banchero as he tries to recover.
Duke doesn’t switch on either screen, so Banchero — guarding Jimmy — places a hand in Buddy’s face as Jimmy presses Moore away from the play. But his 3, the last one he attempts, falls short.
The post Film review: Analyzing Buddy Boeheim’s 9 3-point misses against then-No. 6 Duke appeared first on The Daily Orange.