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NCAAB: Buddy Boeheim-led Syracuse meets Lafayette in opener

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While Syracuse is replacing some significant production from a group that made an unexpected run to the Sweet 16 last season, Buddy Boeheim is back and projected to be among the ACC’s best players.

A preseason pick for first-team All-ACC, Boeheim will be expected to continue his production starting Tuesday when the Orange host Lafayette in their season opener.

Syracuse is picked for seventh in the ACC’s preseason poll after going 18-10 and beating San Diego State and West Virginia as an 11th seed. Boeheim hit 13 of 23 3-pointers over those first two games before missing 8 of 9 in a lopsided loss to Houston in the Sweet 16.

“We want to finish in the top three,” he said at media day. “That’s definitely something I’m focused on this year, having a good regular season and being one of the top teams consistently throughout the year.”

Last season’s edition featured Alan Griffin and Marek Dolezaj, a duo that combined to average about 23 points and are now gone. Also departed is Kadary Richmond, who transferred to Seton Hall after sharing point-guard responsibilities with Joe Girard and Quincy Guerrier, who transferred to Oregon.

Boeheim is back this season after his 17.8-point average ranked tied for third in the ACC. This season, Boeheim’s 68 votes led all vote-getters on the Preseason All-ACC first team, and he is joined on the Orange by newcomers Cole Swider, brother Jimmy Boeheim and highly touted small forward Benny Williams, who committed to Syracuse over Maryland, Georgetown and Miami.

“He made an amazing number of big shots when you consider that he was just a freshman and he started slowly,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of his son. “Then he made a big jump, and he made another jump last year, and I think he’ll make another jump this year.”

Lafayette is coming off consecutive winning seasons but also lost Justin Jaworski, whose 21.5 points led the Patriot League, and E.J. Stephens, who transferred to Minnesota after averaging 16.4 points.

After averaging 77.7 points per game last season and posting consecutive winning seasons for the first time since they had three straight winning seasons from 1998 to 2000, the Leopards are projected to tie Bucknell for sixth in the Patriot League preseason poll.

The Leopards return three starters, including Neal Quinn, to a team whose nonconference schedule includes trips to ninth-ranked Duke and Rutgers.

“We want to compete against these teams,” Lafayette coach Fran O’Hanlon said. “We want to go out there right from the start when they toss it up.”

Syracuse is 8-0 all-time against Lafayette.

–Field Level Media

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