- After starting the season with massive expectations, the No. 15 Syracuse Orange dropped their first contest of the season to the unranked UConn Huskies in the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.
- Losing to their former Big East rivals wasn’t even the most embarrassing aspect of the Orange’s evening.
- Syracuse freshman Buddy Boeheim – the son of Syracuse’s Hall of Fame head coach, Jim Boeheim – wore a jersey with his name misspelled on the back.
The Syracuse Orange haven’t had the most pleasant trip to the Big Apple this year.
Head coach Jim Boeheim and 15th-ranked Syracuse dropped their first contest of the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden to the unranked UConn Huskies, but getting upset by their former Big East rival on basketball’s biggest stage wasn’t even the most embarrassing part of the night for the Orange.
As the team was gearing up for what was easily their biggest contest of the season thus far, Boeheim’s youngest son, Buddy, slipped on his jersey and ran out onto the court to take in the “Mecca of Basketball” for the first time as a Syracuse player. He didn’t realise until after the game that his last name, made famous by his Naismith Hall of Fame father, was misspelled on the back.
Syracuse misspelled Buddy Boeheim’s last name. How in the world does that happen? pic.twitter.com/tFwVJXa99j
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 16, 2018
“It’s kind of ironic,” the freshman told ESPN’s Myron Medcalf.
According to Medcalf, university officials were not sure how the misprint occurred, especially given that the school supplied its own jerseys for the team.
“Not a rational [explanation],” Syracuse spokesman Pete Moore told ESPN. “The event did not supply it.”
Perhaps that’s why Boeheim failed to live up to his namesake Thursday night. The walk-on guard and former three-star prospect provided just one point and one assist in the 76-83 loss, but fellow freshman Jalen Carey poured in 26 points and seven rebounds to lead all scorers.
Even with two other Orange players reaching double digits, Syracuse could not hold off UConn’s evenly-distributed scoring effort after falling behind in the first half. Star guard Tyus Battle converted on a contested layup to cut the Huskies’ lead to five with just 21 seconds remaining in the contest, but UConn sank all of its subsequent free-throw attempts to seal the win.
First-year Huskies head coach Dan Hurley was understandably excited about the win:
✅ Beat a rival
✅ Beat a legendary coach
✅ GET HYPED UP pic.twitter.com/NSyU3iWpS5
— ESPN (@espn) November 16, 2018
“I thought they played harder than us,” Coach Boeheim said after the game, per the New York Post’s Howie Kussoy. “We got out-toughed. That’s something we’re gonna have to look in the mirror about and figure out.”
The Orange will have less than 24 hours to reevaluate as they gear up to face the No. 13 Oregon Ducks – who also lost to an unranked opponent in their opening game of the tournament – Friday afternoon.