CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Buddy Boeheim had a career-high 20 points, and Syracuse defeated Pitt, 73-59, on Wednesday night in the second round of the ACC Tournament despite playing without leading scorer Tyus Battle.
Elijah Hughes and Frank Howard scored 18 points each for the Orange, who will face No. 5 Duke in a rubber match Friday night in the quarterfinals in a game that could feature the return of Zion Williamson from an injury.
Boeheim, the son of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, got the start for the Orange (20-12) in place of Battle and played an instrumental role in a second-half comeback, hitting 6 of 13 shots from the field and grabbing six rebounds with four assists.
Pitt’s Jared Wilson-Frame had 24 points on eight 3-pointers, one shy of the ACC Tournament record held by Randolph Childress of Wake Forest in 1995.
Syracuse trailed 36-30 at halftime after Wilson-Frame connected on 6 of 9 3-pointers.
But with the Orange down five, Boeheim scored on a drive and then knocked down two 3-pointers from the top of the key to give Syracuse the lead. After Hughes and Howard connected on 3s, Boeheim somehow grabbed his own miss amid the trees in the lane, scored and drew a foul for a 3-point play to give the Orange a 52-43 lead.
Pitt’s freshman backcourt of Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson, who combined for 46 points in a first-round win over Boston College, were limited to seven points with their drives nullified by 7-foot-2 Paschal Chukwu’s shot blocking ability in the lane.
The Panthers (14-19) won only three ACC games in the regular season but have a solid young nucleus returning next season led by Johnson and McGowens.
The Orange might have solidified a spot in the NCAA Tournament with 20th win of the season in a difficult conference.