Indianapolis – It seems, at this point, like something scripted for a sentimental sports movie.

The shots, for Buddy Boeheim, keep falling. For the past six games, the son of the Syracuse coach is averaging 26 points, shooting .540 overall and .485 from the 3-point line.

The numbers, staggering enough without context, are magnified by the weight of these games and the paternal lineage of the shooter. Syracuse, once existing in NCAA tournament purgatory, desperately needed wins against those six teams to sneak into the tournament and then prove they belonged once they arrived.

Syracuse beat West Virginia 75-72 Sunday night to reach the Sweet 16. And as gigantic a storyline as that victory was for the Orange, Buddy Boeheim’s rapid, resilient ascension continues to grab headlines.

Buddy Buckets, as the national TV people like to call him, keeps trending, keeps pulling along his teammates on a wild late-season ride.

“I mean, he’s just been playing great,” Jim Boeheim said. “He’s been putting the ball on the floor and getting his own shot. Teammates have been looking for him, good screening. The ball is finding him when he’s open. He had some really good looks today. I’m surprised he didn’t make — he was 6 for 13. I’m surprised he wasn’t 10 for 13 really the way he’s been shooting. I know he was disappointed himself at halftime.”

Buddy Boeheim was 1-for-6 in the first half. West Virginia, fully aware of his recent shooting potency, covered him with a long, athletic defender. Boeheim missed shots and suddenly, he seemed human. How long, after all, could his streak continue? How long could he sink open 3s, impossible 3s, pull-up jumpers, baseline drives? The law of averages surely would intervene.

At halftime, Boeheim had a talk with Gerry McNamara, his position coach with his own place in Orange basketball lore.

“He came up to me and said, ‘Keep shooting. You’re the best shooter on the planet,’ is what he tells me,” Buddy Boeheim said. “And I said ‘Yeah.’ He knows how to motivate me. He knows I need confidence sometimes, and he’s like a big brother to me. And something I’ll cherish forever.”

Jim Boeheim has talked often about the early fragility of Buddy’s self-belief, the evolution his younger son has undergone in the confidence category.

That confidence received a boost at the start of the second half. Marek Dolezaj shuffled the ball to Boeheim on a dribble handoff and Boeheim drained a 3-point shot. A couple of minutes later, Dolezaj found Boeheim again, this time with a pass that Boeheim converted into another 3-pointer.

“It was huge for me,” Buddy Boeheim said. “Just credit to my teammates. They knew that I needed to get some clean looks early in the second half to get going, and they did a great job. My first two shots were wide open, and that’s all credit to Marek giving me a handoff and finding me in the corner. They knew eventually I was going to start making shots.”

The shots, of course, kept falling. More 3-pointers. A finish in transition. A pull-up jump shot. Some free throws.

Boeheim scored 22 second-half points. He shot 7-of-11 overall in the final 20 minutes. He was 5-of-8 from the 3-point line. He finished with 25, his sixth straight game of at least that many points.

The Boeheim dynamic has caught the attention of a wide college basketball audience these past few weeks. Jim Boeheim has been asked to analyze his son, to tell stories about his childhood, to help people understand what they have witnessed since Buddy dropped 26 on North Carolina March 1.

We’ve learned about his 300-plus recruiting ranking and the uncertainty of whether he could play at Syracuse. We’ve learned how Roy Williams watched Buddy drain a bunch of 3-point shots in an AAU game and told Jim Boeheim he should recruit his kid.

But mostly, these past couple of weeks, we’ve learned about the work. We’ve learned about late nights in the family’s home gym, where Buddy sequesters himself after a game and lines up the shooting gun to work for an additional hour. We’ve learned about the weight training that transformed his slender 6-foot-6 frame into a solid 195-pounds, shoulders rounded with muscle. We’ve learned how much Buddy wants to be good, how much he lives in the gym.

“He couldn’t put the ball on the floor. Now he can put the ball on the floor and get a shot. He’s better because he can do that,” Jim Boeheim said. “He’s just made himself into a player. There’s a lot of guys like that. There’s a lot of players out there that people didn’t recruit because they weren’t ready yet. And you watch them get better, and you watch them work at the game.”

And if you’re Buddy Boeheim, you harness all these pertinent parts, all these combustible mixtures of desire and legacy and old-fashioned work ethic into a March to mythologize.

You become a name fans chant at the NCAA tournament, a bright light for kids who worry they’re not good enough. You make everyone forget the .270 mid-season 3-point shooting percentage that seems a quaint, dusty memory. You shoot the ball with such uncanny accuracy, you carry your team to the Sweet 16.

You become, abruptly, a college basketball star.

“My mental, I think, mindset has gotten a lot stronger and better early on in the year. If I missed a couple, I would start pressing myself and really just thinking about my shots,” Buddy Boeheim said. “That’s something I can never do as a shooter. As a shooter, you have to have an empty head almost and not think about it. It’s muscle memory and just changing my mindset and starting to attack, going off the dribble, getting to the lane better, and just continuing to believe myself and keep going always.”

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