Syracuse, Northeastern set for rare matchup

NCAA Men's Basketball

Scheduling in the midst of a pandemic can make for some strange, and geographically convenient, bedfellows.

A pair of schools located a little more than 300 miles apart are scheduled to play a rare game against one another Wednesday afternoon, when Syracuse hosts Northeastern in just the eighth all-time meeting between the two.

Both teams earned wins in their most recent games. Syracuse opened ACC play Saturday by rolling to a 101-63 win over host Boston College. Northeastern, which plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, salvaged a split of a season-opening home-and-home set with Massachusetts on Sunday, when the Huskies beat the visiting Minutemen, 78-75.

Syracuse (4-1) initially wasn’t scheduled to play again until hosting Buffalo on Saturday. But following the lopsided win over Boston College, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim said he’d like to schedule a game during the week so “…we can get up to our (NCAA-mandated) limit” of 26 regular season games.

Northeastern is no stranger to last-second scheduling shuffles. The Huskies planned to open their season at the Paradise Jam in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 25 but pulled out one day before because of positive coronavirus cases within the athletic program. Subsequent games against Maine, UMass-Lowell and Bryant were canceled due to positive coronavirus cases within those programs.

Syracuse is the second recent addition to Northeastern’s schedule. The Huskies hope to visit Old Dominion on Sunday.

“I’m really, really grateful just for the opportunity to get out there and start playing basketball,” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said last week. “Even to be practicing is a gift, guys going in there. I think guys are really, really excited to get back on the court.”

The win over Boston College marked Syracuse’s third victory by 30 points or more this season. Buddy Boeheim, the son of Jim, has scored 38 points total in two games since returning from quarantine. Alan Griffin is averaging 18.4 points per game in five contests while Quincy Guerrier leads the Orange with 8.6 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Tyson Walker led Northeastern in scoring in each of the first two games. Walker scored 29 points in the season-opening 94-79 loss to Massachusetts last Friday before adding 20 points on Sunday. The back-to-back 20-point efforts are the first of his career. Shaquille Walters had 15 rebounds in the two games.

Syracuse leads the all-time series 7-0. The teams most recently played on Dec. 4, 2018, when the Orange recorded a 72-49 win.

–Field Level Media

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