It was the gut punch that reverberated around the ACC and the talk of social media during the opening game of Thursday’s conference tournament in Brooklyn. Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim appeared to punch Florida State forward Wyatt Wilkes in the first half of the Wednesday’s second-round win by the Orange.
The play occurred with 10:17 left in the half and Wilkes appearing to box Boeheim out. The Syracuse guard then seemed to turn and hit Wilkes in the stomach after the play and sending the FSU player to the ground in pain.
Here is Buddy Boeheim pretty obviously punching a dude in the gut. pic.twitter.com/xIbUSdoiRa
— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir) March 9, 2022
Buddy Boeheim, the youngest son of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, did issue an apology through the team after the game.
“In the heat of today’s game, after some shoving in the lane, I swung my arm while turning to go back up the court,” he said. “It was wrong to act in frustration. I apologized to Wyatt Wilkes multiple times in the handshake line. He said not to worry about it, but I know it was wrong.”
Buddy Boeheim was not called for any foul on the play and it’s unclear if the ACC would suspend him for Syracuse’s upcoming game against Duke on Thursday. ACC officials were still reviewing the incident, Syracuse.com reported.
Statement from Buddy Boeheim pic.twitter.com/1SvERy9GW7
— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) March 9, 2022
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim attempted to defend his son after the game by saying that Wilkes had shoved him twice and Buddy Boeheim inadvertently hit him when he swung around to head back up court.
The Syracuse coach appeared to relent a little later on in his post-game press conference.
“He got pushed, and he retaliated. He shouldn’t have done it, but he did,” Jim Boeheim said. “He swung around, and contact was made. If the referee had seen it, it would have been a flagrant one. That would have been it.”
Florida State didn’t seem to take too much issue with the incident after the game. FSU coach Leonard Hamilton defended Buddy Boeheim after the game, calling the play a mistake.
“There’s not a better kid in the ACC than Buddy Boeheim. He’s a class kid, tremendous character. He’s a young man who’s competitive, like everyone else, and I don’t want anything to take away from how well they played and what type of fine young man he is,” Hamilton said. “The game is physical. You expect guys to go out and bang and be aggressive, and if something inadvertently happens, sometimes we want to categorize it in one way or another. I’ve lost my composure at some times. I’ve made some mistakes. If there’s anybody in here who has not, I’d like for you to raise your hand.”