Emotions run high during March Madness, and they hit especially hard for one member of Syracuse’s Boeheim family in particular on Thursday.
The ninth-seeded Orange were seemingly poised to pull off a shocker, leading top-seeded Duke by four at the half of its ACC Tournament quarterfinal in Brooklyn. Syracuse pushed the lead to seven early in the second half and was still up one with just four minutes to play.
Then, the Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run, and that was that.
The 88-79 loss ended Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s bid for his first ACC Tournament title. It also made his wife, Juli, emotional, with ESPN cameras capturing her apparently tearful immediately after the loss.
It was understandable.
At 16-17 overall and 9-11 in the ACC, Syracuse isn’t going to the NCAA tournament. It was also possibly the last time that Juli will see her husband and two sons, Jimmy and Buddy, all together for the Orange.
Buddy Boeheim, who led Syracuse and the ACC in scoring this season at 19.2 points per game, is a senior, while younger brother Jimmy is a graduate student. The brothers also didn’t get to share the floor on Thursday, with Buddy, a first-team All-ACC selection, suspended for the game after throwing a punch in Wednesday’s win over Florida State.
It was also a rough week for Juli, who was robbed at gunpoint on March 1. The Syracuse police department said a man waved a gun in her face and stole her purse while sitting in her car near a Cheesecake Factory.
The Orange, which lost to Duke by 20 and 25 points during the regular season, put up a valiant fight on Thursday, led by a season-high 28 points from Jimmy Boeheim, who also helped hold Pablo Banchero to just 10 points. But all Buddy Boeheim could do was watch from the bench as Wendell Moore dropped 26 on the Orange, while three other Duke players scored in double figures.