|Posted on January 27, 2018 at 6:00 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
Syracuse Orange true freshmen center Bourama Sidibe has been hampered by tendonitis since the beginning of the season, making mention to me within the first two games that he had been working through it to the best of his ability.
His abilities, as a result, had been affected by it, after Sidibe had clearly demonstrated good hand-eye coordination, good hands, and a fire to go after the ball in any and all situations.
In five of the team's last 12 games, Sidibe did not register a single minute on the floor.
There was even a time when head coach Jim Boeheim had stated that he could still redshirt Sidibe if need be, to prevent Sidibe losing a season of eligibility.
But Sidibe continued to remain active on the roster, available for their road game against their longtime rival, the Pittsburgh Panthers, and for their sake, Syracuse was blessed to have him there on a bench that has become increasingly smaller.
With redshirt-freshman forward Matthew Moyer out due to an injury to his left leg sustained a game before, in a home contest versus the Boston College Eagles, the Orange were left with Sidibe and true freshman point guard Howard Washington, Jr., with true freshman forward Marek Dolezaj moving into the starting lineup in place of Moyer.
The most minutes Sidibe had played in an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) game this season was 10 minutes, versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where he accumulated four points, two rebounds, and one block in a two-point loss, 51-49, at home in the Carrier Dome.
He had been on the floor for 35 minutes cumulative over the team's first seven games inside the conference leading into this road contest with the Panthers.
In a game where there were seven ties and neither team ever held a double-digit lead, Sidibe ended up proving to be a catalyst whose output would propel the Orange to their second victory against the Panthers this season.
Sidibe played in 31 of 40 minutes in this game, almost equaling his time played in seven combined ACC games this season as aforementioned.
His totals for games versus the ACC this season were four points, five rebounds, and two blocks.
To say that Sidibe eclipsed those numbers in this game alone against Pittsburgh would be an understatment.
At the end of 31 minutes played on the road at The Petersen Events Center a.k.a. "The Pete", Sidibe had gathered 18 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks.
He had outdone his seven-game ACC totals by 14 points, 11 rebounds, and one block in this one game alone.
This performance is Sidibe's single-game career best for points in a game as well as rebounds in a game. It is also just the second time Sidibe has attained double-digits in scoring in a game this season and the very first double-double of his young collegiate career.
Take Sidibe out of the equation in this contest versus Pittsburgh and Syracuse has their five-point victory, 60-55, turn into a double-digit loss, on a night where junior point guard Frank Howard and true freshman forward Oshae Brissett did not reach double-figures in scoring and only one other Syracuse player, sophomore shooting guard Tyus Battle, amounted double-digits in scoring (14).
Say what you want to say about this team, but you cannot intelligently state that heroes by numerous different names have not stepped up here in the 2017-18 season, and this time it may very well have been the most unlikely hero.
I guess nothing can keep Sidibe down.
Or the Orange for that matter, as they move to 4-4 in the ACC, and 15-6 overall.