Syracuse and Pitt each sit at 1-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, leaving both squads hungry for a win when the teams meet Tuesday.
The host Orange (7-8, 1-3) have dropped three straight games, although the defeats have come by a total of nine points. They fell at Wake Forest in overtime on Saturday, 77-74, despite 21 points from Jimmy Boeheim and 17 from his younger brother, Buddy Boeheim.
“We’re doing enough to win both these games,” coach Jim Boeheim said, specifically referring to the team’s one-point loss at Miami and the three-point defeat to Wake Forest. “We just can’t quite get there.”
Syracuse now gets its next three games at home, beginning with a matchup against Pitt (6-9, 1-3), a team coming off a 69-67 triumph against Boston College. John Hugley registered 32 points and 13 rebounds in that contest and has shot at least 50 percent in three straight games, following a three-game stretch in which he shot just 7 of 27 from the floor.
“Whatever my team needs me to do,” Hugley said. “If playing 37 minutes is what it takes, that’s what it has to take. I didn’t even know I was out there for 37 minutes.”
Hugley is averaging 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds to lead the Panthers in both categories. He did commit seven turnovers against BC and needs to limit his miscues against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense.
The Orange are paced offensively by the Boeheim brothers (Buddy’s 18.6 points per game and Jimmy’s 14.6 points). Joe Girard III chips in 13.9 points, while Cole Swider (12.9) and Jesse Edwards (11.8) also average double figures.
No other players on Syracuse average more than 2.3 points per game.
Pitt also has been involved in close games of late, with its last three games decided by a combined six points. The Panthers are 1-2 in those games.
Last season, the teams were involved in one close matchup and one lopsided affair. The Panthers won a 63-60 decision at the Carrier Dome last Jan. 6 and then prevailed 96-76 in Pittsburgh 10 days later.
–Field Level Media