Saturday, November 30, 2013

SU Earns Bowl Eligibility With Last-Second Victory over Boston College

SU celebrates after George Morris II's second-quarter touchdown
Text, video and photos by Jonathan Gault

Scott Shafer is an emotional man. That much has become clear in 2013, even though just two of Syracuse's first 11 games were decided by a touchdown or less. So it's not a stretch to say that after SU closed out the regular season with a last-second, 34-31 win over Boston College on Saturday, the first-year head coach was feeling something.

"I love this team, I frickin' love this team!" Shafer proclaimed in the bowels of the Carrier Dome at the post-game press conference. Shafer shook the podium, added "I love this town!" and then closed with two words: bowl-eligible.

It's the goal that's driven this team since the season began on a hot August day in the Meadowlands, and SU achieved it in the most dramatic fashion possible. In a game with as many twists and turns as a Die Hard movie, Syracuse (6-6, 4-4 ACC) struck the decisive blow, as quarterback Terrel Hunt hit tight end Josh Parris for an eight-yard touchdown pass with six seconds remaining to give the Orange the victory.

SU's win may not have had the national title implications of Saturday's other frenetic finishes in Ann Arbor and Auburn, but to the men in orange and blue, nothing was more important on the final day of November.

"To know we're going to have another [game] is a great feeling," center Macky MacPherson said. "All I can think about now is that I get one more opportunity. I don't care who we play, I don't care where we play, I don't care if it's in Alaska."

MacPherson, grandson of SU coaching legend Dick MacPherson, said that he felt sorry for anyone who might have left early.

"It was a hard-fought game, and to be honest with you, I think that was one of the top five Syracuse games that's been played in the Dome, and I've been watching games for a while."

Hunt has been uneven in his first year under center, and when BC linebacker Steele Divitto intercepted his pass with 3:24 to play in the game, all appeared to be lost. Syracuse trailed, 28-27, and the Eagles (7-5, 4-4 ACC) had the ball at the Orange 22-yard line.

SU limited BC to a field goal, giving Hunt 2:08 to drive 75 yards for the winning touchdown -- without any timeouts. What followed was a microcosm of Hunt's season.

On that final drive, Hunt completed four of his five passes and added 19 yards on three carries. For the second time in as many drives, Hunt seemed as if he had lost the game for Syracuse, fumbling after an eight-yard carry took him to the BC 25. But the reliable MacPherson fell on the ball to retain possession, and four plays later, Hunt dumped a short pass off to Parris, who scrambled 11 yards before crossing the goal-line with the game-winning score.

"This was definitely my best game played ever, high school, whatever," Hunt said.

Hunt's numbers back up that assertion -- 29-of-43 for a career-high 270 yards passing and two touchdowns (and that one interception) and 17 carriers for 90 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Hunt consistently made the right call running the read-option and caught the BC defense napping with 22 seconds to play by running for a first down with BC expecting a spike.

"I didn't even look at the clock," Hunt said. "Coach called a spike and I sneaked it for the first down. Just play in the moment."

He still looks far from a finished product -- two fourth-quarter overthrows to wideouts Ashton Broyld and Christopher Clark both could have gone for touchdowns -- but Hunt's good plays outweighed the bad on Saturday.

Third down was key in the ballgame, and SU's success (12-for-18), coupled with BC's futility (3-for-10) allowed the Orange to pile up over 36 minutes of possession, compared to just 23 for the Eagles. SU outgained BC, 480 to 359, and doubled the Eagles up in first downs, 30 to 15. Add in Syracuse's success stopping BC's 2,000-yard rusher Andre Williams -- who was limited to just 29 yards on nine carries before leaving the game with an injury in the third quarter -- and it should have been an easy victory for the Orange.

But a propensity to give up big plays at the wrong times almost doomed Syracuse. SU gave up a 52-yard completion as Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig hit wideout Alex Amidon with a minute to go in the first half, setting up a BC touchdown to cut the halftime lead to 21-14. A 54-yard run by Rettig in the fourth quarter set up another Eagles TD and gave BC a 28-24 lead with 7:49 to play. Even the Orange's otherwise fine work on Williams was spoiled by one good run -- a 26-yard touchdown when Williams reached the edge before the Syracuse defense and sprinted down the left sideline for the score.

SU also failed to capitalize after moving the ball on two first-quarter drives, as Ryan Norton missed a 30-yard field goal and Jerome Smith was stuffed on fourth and goal from the two-yard line.

A pair of backups led the Orange's receiving corps, as Parris and wide receiver Alvin Cornelius III -- pressed into action after injuries to Beckett Wales and Jarrod West -- combined to catch 14 balls for 128 yards and two touchdowns, both to Parris.

"Nobody knows who Alvin is except for Jimmy Munson, his high school coach," Shafer said. "Alvin comes in, he blocks well, he makes plays.

"We've been beat up pretty damn good. 'The next guy in' has been our creed. I don't care what your name is, I don't care what jersey, I don't care what position you're supposed to be playing, but the next man in is up and it's his job to get it done. And today was a great example of the next man in."

Next man in on the Syracuse schedule? A bowl game.

Jerome Smith is wrapped up by a pack of BC defenders

A few more notes from Saturday's victory:
  • With the win, Syracuse is eligible for its third bowl in four years. The Orange played in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2012 and 2010.
  • Syracuse continued its streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher this season. 
  • Linebacker Marquis Spruill registered half of a tackle for loss on Saturday, tying him with Duke Pettijohn for second on the Orange's all-time list (40.0).
  • BC kicker Nate Freese hit a 21-yard field goal with 2:08 to play in the game and is a perfect 18-for-18 on the season.
  • Nineteen SU seniors and five student managers were honored on the Carrier Dome turf before the game by a group that included athletic director Dr. Daryl Gross and NFL Hall of Famer Floyd Little.
  • SU kicker Ryan Norton missed a 30-yard field goal early in the game but rallied back to hit not one, but two career-long kicks. He was good from 42 yards in the third quarter and hit again from 44 in the fourth.

Terrel Hunt excelled running the read-option on Saturday
SU senior captains Macky MacPherson, Jerome Smith, Marquis
Spruill and Jay Bromley line up for their final coin toss at the Carrier Dome

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Syracuse Aims for Bowl Eligibility Against Andre Williams and Boston College

By Jonathan Gault
Photo from

Anyone familiar with Syracuse football knows the significance of the number 44 jersey. Jim Brown. Ernie Davis. Floyd Little. Though SU retired the number in 2005, there will be another outstanding running back wearing number 44 on Saturday in the Carrier Dome – Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Williams’ accomplishments in 2013 are on par with anything Brown, Davis or Little ever achieved during their college career. Through 11 games, the senior leads the nation with 2,073 rushing yards. He broke the ACC single-game record with 339 yards against NC State on Nov. 16, and he’s blown by Don McCauley’s (North Carolina) ACC season record of 1,863 yards set in 1970. He’s currently 12th on the FBS single-season rushing list, and with two games to go (including a bowl game), Williams will almost certainly rise on that chart.

“He’s definitely one of the best in the country, one of the best to play the college game,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said in the ACC’s weekly media teleconference on Wednesday. “He’s going to end up being statistically in that situation where people are going to say, ‘Holy cow, this kid was one of the best.’”

Most importantly for coach Steve Addazio’s Eagles (7-4, 4-3 ACC), Williams has been the key to BC’s recent four-game win streak. Williams has rushed for 897 yards and six touchdowns in his last three contests, but he’ll face a tough test in SU’s No. 27 run defense. The Orange (5-6, 3-4 ACC) is one of just three teams in the FBS not to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. That streak seems likely be broken on Saturday, but if SU can limit Williams’ effectiveness, it will have a chance to gain bowl eligibility with a crucial sixth win.

“He’s fun to watch on tape until you realize you’ve got to try to defend him,” Shafer said. “I’ve been around a lot of great tailbacks over the years. I think about Michael Turner who played for us over at [Northern Illinois.] Michael and Andre are similar: good, strong backs with good breakaway speed.”

How Syracuse handles Williams will depend on which Orange defense shows up on Saturday. SU’s defense has been dominant against weaker opposition and has surrendered just 30 points, total, in the team’s five wins. But against quality teams, the unit has faltered. Blowout losses to No. 6 Clemson and No. 2 Florida State were to be expected, but it’s Syracuse’s 56-0 defeat by Georgia Tech on Oct. 19 that really stings.

In that game, Syracuse allowed 394 rushing yards to a run-heavy Yellow Jacket attack. Syracuse will try to carry over the improvements it has made since then against a BC team that loves to run the ball.

Some quick hits before the game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (available locally on the YES Network):

  • This will be the 46th meeting between Syracuse and BC, but the first since 2010. The Eagles won that matchup at the Carrier Dome, 16-7, but Syracuse leads the all-time series, 28-18. Both coaches seemed keen to renew the rivalry. The game carries particular meaning for Addazio, who coached the tight ends and offensive linemen at SU from 1995-1998. “Obviously I’ve been on the other side of this thing when I coached at Syracuse,” Addazio said. “I know how important and how big this game was. It was a red-letter game for us, one that was down on our schedule that we knew early on it was going to come down to playing BC in the end. It’s a huge game. It’s regionally big. Recruiting-wise, it’s big. It’s Northeast big.”
  •  Senior tight end Beckett Wales will miss the rest of the season after SU announced he suffered an “upper body injury” that will require surgery in the Orange’s 17-16 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
  • Quarterback Terrel Hunt snapped a six-game streak without a touchdown when he connected with Alvin Cornelius III against Pitt. Prior to that, he hadn’t thrown for a touchdown since Sept. 21 against Tulane. His 159 passing yards against the Panthers were also his highest total since that 52-17 win over Tulane.   
  •  With a win, the Orange will be eligible for a bowl for the second consecutive season. Last year, SU defeated West Virginia, 38-14, in a snowy Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. SU’s longest-ever bowl streak is six years, from 1987-1992.
  • SU’s 19 graduating seniors will be honored before the game on Senior Day .

Monday, November 25, 2013

SU Women's Basketball Dominates Again, Beating Maine, 97-42

Story, photos and video by Jasmine Haynes
Game wrap videography by Brittany Jones

The Syracuse women's basketball team started the game Sunday with the same momentum as Wednesday's record setting, 113-42, win against Maryland Eastern Shore. The Orange dominated the game from the tip, going on a 12-0 run in the first three minutes and 48 seconds of the first half.

Although Syracuse did not score 100 points, the Orange came close. Freshman guard Alexis Peterson stalled the ball with eight seconds left in the game to cap the final score at 97-42 against the Black Bears.

"Overall, I think we did an awesome job of just really getting up and down the floor and playing aggressive," head coach Quentin Hillsman said.

Four Syracuse players scored double digit points. Sophomore guard Brittney Sykes led the Orange with 19. Sophomore guard Brianna Butler chipped in 15 and freshman guard Isabella Slim added ten.  Freshman forward Briana Day did not start but proved to be a key factor off the bench for the Orange. Day finished with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Her showing in Sunday's game was a drastic turnaround from her performance of only six points and three rebounds against Maryland Eastern Shore. Her goal coming into the game today was simple.

"Slow down," Day said. "Because I've been struggling the last four games with taking my time and slowing down. I definitely did that tonight which my coaches have been heckling me about."

Senior guard Ashleigh Roberts led the Black Bears with 14 points and sophomore forward Liz Wood added ten. But the Black Bears allowed the Orange to score 35 points off their 27 turnovers. The Orange capitalized on the Black Bears mistakes allowing the Orange to put the game out of reach by halftime.

With the Orange leading by 40 points at the start of the second half, Hillsman began to rest his starters three minutes in. All 14 players on the roster saw playing time of at least six minutes giving the bench a chance to gain some experience early in the season.

Even in a blowout game, taking care of the fundamentals is important, Hillsman said.

"We still have to play clean basketball, not throwing it away, controlling tempo, playing fast, and getting our defenses set. I thought we did an excellent job of doing that."

The win keeps the Orange with a perfect record of 5-0 giving Maine its first loss of the season. The Black Bears fell to 3-1. Hillsman hopes his team will carry this momentum to the Virgin Islands this week as the Orange prepares for the Paradise Jam Tournament.

"Obviously we're really happy, to get to this point not having a loss [headed] to the Virgin Islands undefeated."  "

"It feels really good to not go down in a loss because that would really [stink]," Day said. "And practice tomorrow would be death [if we would have lost this game headed into the tournament.]"

"I'm real excited to get down there," Brianna Butler added. "I've never been to the Virgin Islands but it's also a business trip so we have to be very serious, take care of business, and come back with wins hopefully."

The Orange won't have it easy in St. Thomas. Syracuse will play Memphis, Texas, and 13th ranked Texas A&M in a round robin style tournament. The Orange will face Texas first on Thanksgiving Day at 8:15 p.m.

Syracuse will face the highest ranked team it has played this season in Texas A&M. Hillsman knows this tournament will require his team to play hard. That's why his main concern is the impact of traveling on player performance.

"Obviously we're going to a place with a warm climate but the travel can beat you up," he said. "The travel is grueling and once we get there we will try to get our bodies adjusted [from relaxing for a couple of days] to [having to play] Texas."

"We're going to be playing tougher teams that are on a [better] skill level so it's going to be a little tough," Day said. " But we have to be mentally prepared for it."

Head Coach Quentin Hillsman post game news conference

Brianna Butler and Briana Day post game news conference

Post game wrap 

Photos from the game

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Syracuse Falls Just Short, Loses to Pittsburgh

In a game decided by inches, the Orange is on the losing end of the stick

By: Mike McCann

At the time, it was almost like no one really cared. Jerome Smith had just scampered 36 yards for a touchdown after the Orange defense had forced Pitt to a three and out. Syacuse led 6-0, with the extra point pending.

But Ryan Norton's extra point was blocked. The Orange didn't take the seven point lead, and it ended up losing the game 17-16, with that one point making all the difference.

"I think it was Aaron Donald...he came through and knocked [our guard] back," said Head Coach Scott Shafer in his postgame press conference. "[I] couldn't tell if the kick was low...and they did a nice job getting penetration over our A-gap guard."

Donald finished the game with nine tackles, three and half of which were for loss.

"[Donald's] a great player," said quarterback Terrel Hunt. "That defense is pretty good."

Missed opportunities

After Syracuse scored on their first drive, the two teams went back and forth, exchanging punts, until Pitt's last drive of the first quarter.

The Panthers had it first and goal from the three yard line before the SU defense rolled up its sleeves and went to work. A five yard false start penalty was sandwiched in between two Cam Lynch sacks, which set up a 42 yard field goal from Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt to make it 6-3 Orange.

"We owe basically our season to [the defense], said center Macky MacPherson. "They're playing their butts off."

The Orange defense allowed only 21 yards on the ground, and only 239 yards of total offense for the game.

"I guess you can say we did a decent job," said Senior Defensive Tackle Jay Bromley. "But to win, you've got to give up less points than the other defense and we didn't do that."

After three more drives (and three more punts), Pittsburgh punched it in from seven yards out on a pass from Tom Savage to Manasseh Garner. It gave the Panthers their first lead.

Pitt would take the lead to the break, but not until after some fireworks. On the Orange's next drive (their last of the half), Hunt nearly connected with Durrel Eskridge on a deep pass down the sideline. Eskridge isn't a wide receiver, but because of injuries to Jarrod West and Jeremiah Kobena, Eskridge played both ways.

The pass looked good at first, but was ruled incomplete right after.

"I felt like I made the catch," Eskridge said. "I kind of bobbled it a little at the end, but I felt like I brought it in at the end and kept my feet in, but the officials made the call, we had to live with it and get ready for the next down.

Eskridge's near touchdown is another prime example of just how close the Orange was to busting through in this one. After a Ryan Norton field goal, Pitt led at recess 10-9.

After back-to-back punts to open the second half, Hunt connected with Alvin Cornelius on a 42 yard touchdown pass, the first of Cornelius's career. It gave the Orange a 16-10 lead.

"You just put the ball out there and let the receivers make the plays," Hunt said. "Just let the receivers make the plays and believe in them."

The Panthers scored next on a five yard run by Isaac Bennett. That gave Pitt a 17-16 lead, which would end up being the final score.

The Orange did have one last chance, though, late in the fourth quarter. On a fourth down and eight from the Pitt 36, Shafer sent Norton out, as if to try a 53 yard field goal. Except that wasn't the plan. It was a fake, and Kendall Moore caught the pass with no one in front of him. There was only one problem. Pittsburgh had called timeout.

"I felt like we had an opportunity to run the fake field goal," Shafer said. "Coach [Paul] Chryst did a nice job calling a timeout before we could get it off, and they won the ballgame."

After the Pitt timeout, the Orange decided to go for it, but an incomplete pass from Terrel Hunt gave the Panthers the win, and in the process gave Pitt its sixth straight bowl berth, the second longest streak in school history.

Up next

The Orange has one last chance to earn its third bowl berth in four years. Next week, Boston College comes to the Carrier Dome for the final game of 2013.

"I don't think you're going to see a team work harder than us this week," MacPherson said. "Our backs are against the wall, we're in a corner,'s do or die time."

Boston College has already clinched a bowl berth with a 7-4 record so far this year. For Syracuse, and for these seniors, the Orange will need a sixth win to make the sting of this loss go away.

Pictures from the game

Postgame Press Conferences


Friday, November 22, 2013

Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Preview

Inside the Series
Syracuse and Pittsburgh have played each other 68 times on the gridiron. This Saturday, for the first time ever, the game will be played with both teams as members of the ACC.

"I'm extremely humbled to be a part of it as a head coach now," said Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer at his Thursday press conference. "Growing up as a kid, I watched those we're in the ACC, that's the only change."

Shafer's team is 5-5 on the year, with two chances left at earning a bowl bid. The same is true for the 5-5 Pitt Panthers.

Historically, these two teams are about as even as two teams can be. Pitt leads the overall series 34-31-3, and has won seven of the last eight. Yet when the two teams met last year, Syracuse won a close one 14-13. They're so close that throughout the history of this rivalry, Syracuse averages 19.6 points per game against Pitt, and Pitt averages 19.5 against the Orange.

Both teams are coming off tough losses, but in different fashion. Syracuse ran into the ACC's version of a superpower last week in Florida State, and the Seminoles had their way with the Orange. Pitt played a close game against North Carolina, but even after a furious rally in the fourth quarter, the Panthers comeback attempt fell just short.

Familiar Opponents
This game features a ton of guys who know each other very well from the past. The two teams feature 14 players who played together in high school. Syracuse RB/WR Ashton Broyld (Sophomore/Rochester, NY) played with four Pitt players at Milford Academy in New Berlin, NY.

"They talk a lot of trash, you can see it on film, helmet moving, looking at the guy with their body language," Broyld said. "I don't keep in touch with any of those guys."

Complete list:

Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY) - Syracuse: RB/WR Ashton Broyld, LB Dyshawn Davis, WR Jeremiah Kobena; Pitt: FB Mark Giubilato, DL Khaynin Mosley-Smith, DB Jevonte Pitts, LB Todd Thomas

Liberty High School (Bethlehem, PA) - Syracuse: WR Jarrod West; Pitt: WR Devin Street, LB Anthony Gonzalez

The Haverford School (Haverford, PA) - Syracuse: CB Joe Nassib; Pitt: LB Matt Galambos

Blue Mountain High School (Schuylkill Haven, PA) - Syracuse: C Jason Emerich; Pitt: K Brad Lukasak

Key Match-ups
Pitt Wide Receivers vs. Syracuse Defensive Backs
The Panthers have two of the best wide receivers in the ACC in Devin Street (Senior/Bethlehem, PA) and Tyler Boyd (Freshman/Clairton, PA). Street and Boyd are the only pair of teammates to rank in the ACC's top seven in both receptions and receiving yards per game.

"Street's had a real good run at Pitt, but Tyler Boyd is only a handful of catches...under what Larry Fitzgerald [had] in his freshman year," Shafer said. "Larry Fitzgerald, come on, so this kid is really good."

Syracuse is a little banged up in the secondary. After losing CB Keon Lyn (Senior/Miramar, Fla.) for the season to a lower body injury against Clemson, the Orange lost CB Julian Whigham (Sophomore/West Palm Beach, Fla.) to a long contusion against Florida State.

Look for Wayne Morgan (Sophomore, Brooklyn, NY) to see a lot of time in Whigham's stead, and Joe Nassib (Senior/Newton Square, PA) could see some action as well.

Aaron Donald vs. Syracuse Offensive Line 
Donald (Senior/Pittsburgh, PA) has been a one-man wrecking crew on the Pitt defensive line. He's a finalist for the Nagurski Award (awarded to the top defensive player in college football), as well as the Rotary Award (awarded to the nation's top offensive/defensive lineman). He has 22.5 tackles for loss to go along with ten sacks so far this year in ten games.

Syracuse's offensive line is one of the few units on the team that has remained healthy all year. The Orange has started the same offensive line for every game this season. Keeping Donald out of the face of quarterback Terrel Hunt (Sophomore/Rosedale, NY) is key for the Orange to gain any sort of yardage with all of their offensive injuries.

Adrian Fleming (lower body) - out for year
Ross Krautman (lower body) - out for year
Keon Lyn (lower body) - out for year
Tyler Marona (upper body) - out for year
John Raymon (lower body) - out for year
Prince Tyson Gulley (lower body) - out for game
Brisly Estime (upper body) - out for game
Isaiah Johnson (upper body) - out for game
Ben Lewis (upper body) - out for game
Jarrod West (upper body) - out for game
Julian Whigham (upper body) - out for game 
Jason Emerich (lower body) - doubtful

No formal injury report released to media.

Newhouse Sports NBA Recap: Nov. 22, 2013

Games of the Night: Thunder Gets Revenge Against Clippers; Nuggets Outlast Bulls

Story by Jordan Greer
Photos courtesy of AP

Since there were only two NBA games on the docket last night, let’s dive into both.   
The first of the double feature showcased an intriguing matchup of Western Conference powers, but Oklahoma City showed no interest in keeping it close.  The Thunder (8-3) easily dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers (8-5) 105-91 with Kevin Durant, the league’s leading scorer, racking up 28 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. 
The Thunder shot 51.9 percent from the field as a team, largely due to getting easy attempts close to the basket.  Oklahoma City outscored Lob City 58-32 on points in the paint. 

Aggressiveness offensively was also apparent due to the free throw numbers, as the Thunder nearly doubled the Clippers in free throw attempts (29 to 15). 
Serge Ibaka was able to stay on the floor last night after being ejected the last time these teams met on Nov. 13 in Los Angeles.  That ejection resulted from a physical altercation with Blake Griffin in the second quarter, and the Clippers would go on to win that game 111-103.

It was a different story this time around as Ibaka made his presence known with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. 
Despite the loss, a couple of Clippers extended double-double streaks.  Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 12 assists.  Paul has now started the season with an NBA record 13 straight games of at least 10 points and 10 assists.  Magic Johnson held the previous record with 11 straight games to start the 1990-1991 season. 

Griffin scored 27 points and grabbed 10 boards for his 6th straight 20-10 game.  He showed the ability to make the midrange jumper when the Thunder defense relaxed.  He also continued to show his improvement as a post passer by dishing out 5 assists.

This was simply a dominating OKC effort.  The Thunder led for the entire game, and the Clippers could never sustain success on the offensive end.  Los Angeles had little ball movement in their half court sets, a problem that has plagued them in the postseason since Paul joined the team.  The Thunder shut down any possible comeback attempts with little trouble.
·  Show me the money!  A Thunder fan made a half court shot at halftime for $20,000.  Brad Brucker, a 33-year-old teacher, drained his attempt for a big check courtesy of MidFirst Bank.  Brucker was congratulated by Jay-Z and Beyonce, who were watching the game courtside. (Video)
·  Matt Barnes did not play and is expected to be out at least two weeks due to retinal surgery on his left eye.  Barnes was ejected during the Nov. 13 meeting as a result of his role in the altercation with Ibaka.
·  Russell Westbrook still has not appeared to find his groove.  He certainly has all of his quickness and athleticism back after his injury, but his shot is still a work in progress.  He went 5-13 from the field, including 0-6 from three point range. 
·  Rookie Steven Adams has been impressive in the early stages of the season.  He certainly made the most of his time last night, totaling 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists in 24 minutes. 
Now, we travel to Denver…

The Nuggets (5-6) had just a little bit too much for the Bulls (6-4), taking advantage of big bench contributions on the way to a 97-87 victory.
Nate Robinson and Jordan Hamilton combined to make four three pointers in the fourth quarter, serving up the vicious body blows that would knock the Bulls down and leave them unable to recover. 
Hamilton led the Nuggets with 17 points while Robinson finished with 11 points in a poor shooting night against his former team.  Robinson’s typical chaotic energy may have backfired on him early as he seemed to be pressing offensively, but he hit big shots from downtown when it mattered most.
Derrick Rose, similar to Westbrook for the Thunder, shows no signs of being limited athletically, yet he remains inconsistent with his jumper.  Rose went 9-20 from the field, missing many attempts that are typically automatic.
Joakim Noah was a bright spot for the Bulls.  Noah nearly pulled off a triple double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists.  He did the usual Noah things, attacking the offensive glass for second chance points and yelling triumphantly after.
Chicago certainly missed their wingman Jimmy Butler, who was out with a toe injury.  Mike Dunleavy had a decent showing with 15 points, but Luol Deng was simply abysmal.  Deng went 3-18 from the field for 6 points and 4 turnovers.
The forward combo of Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson worked well for Denver.  Faried had 12 points and 11 rebounds while Hickson had 14 points and 9 rebounds.  Both players utilized their speed and athleticism to get up the floor for some easy dunks, including an impressive alley oop from half court as Ty Lawson found Faried for a two-hand throwdown.
The Nuggets grabbed the Bulls by the horns in the fourth quarter in a game that was close up until the Robinson and Hamilton threes.  Chicago is still working on how to work together on the offensive end with Rose back.  Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau is known for his defensive prowess, but at a certain point you have to put the round orange thing in the basket.
Speaking of Orange…

Catching Up with the ‘Cuse
Carmelo Anthony
It’s obvious the Knicks (3-8) are struggling, but don’t blame ‘Melo.  Although his shooting numbers are down, he is taking on much of the scoring load for a team that has been crushed by injuries and poor roster construction.  It doesn’t help not having Tyson Chandler to make up for the Knicks poor perimeter defense, too.  (ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh makes an interesting point about Anthony being on the floor at the same time as Andrea Bargnani and how it relates to his performance.)
Season Averages: 26.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 9.5 rpg, 42% FG, 33% 3PT FG

Michael Carter-Williams

Carter-Williams returned for the Sixers (5-8) from a foot injury Wednesday to play 34 minutes against the Raptors.  He shot only 2-10 from the field with 6 turnovers, but did add 6 rebounds and 6 assists.  I’m sure MCW fans are just happy to see him back on the floor.
Season Averages: 16.6 ppg, 7.4 apg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 spg, 38% FG

Wesley Johnson

Johnson had a solid performance on Sunday as the Lakers (5-7) took down the Pistons.  He went 6-8 from the field for 13 points in 21 minutes of play.  It will be interesting to see how Los Angeles utilizes Johnson with the impending return of Kobe Bryant.
Season Averages: 7.8 ppg, 1.3 apg, 3.9 rpg, 38% FG, 40% 3PT FG

Dion Waiters
The on court performance isn’t really of interest in this case.  Waiters missed two consecutive Cavs (4-8) games due to illness on Nov. 15 and 16, but there were rumors of a locker room confrontation in Cleveland after guard Kyrie Irving called a players-only meeting.  Fuel was added to the fire when Irving showed up for the game Nov. 15 with a black eye and broken nose.  Waiters has denied the rumors and said he was sick over the weekend of the two games.  Let’s see if that meeting was what the doctor ordered for the Cavs.  It certainly can’t get much worse. 

Season Averages: 13.1 ppg, 2.3 apg, 3.1 rpg, 37% FG, 39% 3PT FG

  James Southerland is on the Charlotte Bobcats active roster but has yet to appear in a game this season. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Syracuse Sets Records, Stays Undefeated Against Maryland Eastern Shore

Orange rewrites program history books with most points in a game, 113-42

By Jordan Greer

Maryland Eastern Shore led the game 1-0 one minute into the first half.  Then, the rest of the game happened.
The Syracuse women’s basketball team pummeled the Lady Hawks in record-setting fashion Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome, 113-42, to move to 4-0 on the season. 
The win was never in doubt as the Orange set a program record for most points in a game and most points in a half after leading 64-15 at the end of the first.  It was also the widest margin of victory in team history.
"I had no idea what the record was," said head coach Quentin Hillsman after the game.  "It was just one of those things where we got it clicking. We played phenomenal."
The Lady Hawks were unable to handle the swarming Orange full court and half court zone pressure. Syracuse forced 31 turnovers and produced easy baskets in transition.
"We got going into situations where we made them cross half court and try to make a play," said Hillsman.  "I think that our length and our athleticism really changed the game with our pressure."
Sophomore guard Brianna Butler had struggled coming into this game, shooting only 28 percent from the field on the season. She served up a big performance, scoring 20 of her career-high 23 points in the first half.  Butler added another personal-best for 3-point field goals made by draining 7 of 11 from deep.
"I just hit the open shot. I just focused on getting my feet set and getting in rhythm," said Butler.  "They were just falling."
Butler's fellow sophomore guard Brittney Sykes continued her hot start to the year with an impressive overall line of 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.  She recognized the importance of the sophomore duo playing well.
"Coach talked to us and told us that we had to contribute big this season as sophomores and take a leadership role," Sykes said.  "To combine for 42 (points) is a great feeling to know that our teammates trust us with the ball."

Senior guard La'Shay Taft finished with 12 points off the bench and hit a three from the right wing in the second half to break the previous team record of 103 points.  That was set by the 1978 Orange women against William Smith.

"I guess I'll be known for that until somebody snaps the record," said Taft with a smile.  "It's a good thing.  It's a plus."
Coach Hillsman said his team played two complete halves and continued to play hard and clean despite having a large lead. 
"I thought overall it was one of those nights where we just got it rolling, got it clicking and we played well," said Hillsman.
Syracuse will close out its four-game homestand against Maine on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.  It will be the last home game for the Orange women until Dec. 16.

Head Coach Quentin Hillsman Postgame


La'Shay Taft, Brittney Sykes, Brianna Butler Postgame



Game Notes

  • The previous team record for points in a half was 59, set three different times (1997 against Central Florida, 1999 against West Virginia, 2001 against West Virginia).
  • The previous team record for margin of victory was 70, set against Delaware State in 2011.
  • Syracuse went 22 of 26 (84.6 percent) from the free throw line on the night, which is impressive considering the frequency in which the team practices free throws.  Coach Hillsman: "We shot free throws one time. I'm never shooting them again in practice."
  • Maryland Eastern Shore struggled offensively even when it did not turn the ball over.  The Lady Hawks shot 11 of 50 (22 percent) from the field and 2 of 20 (10 percent) from three point range.
  • Junior guard Jessica Long led Maryland Eastern Shore in scoring (18.7 points per game) coming into tonight's contest, but she only had 9 points in 29 minutes of action.
  • Reserves played a key role in the Orange women's win.  Syracuse totaled 56 bench points compared to 15 for the Lady Hawks.
  • Syracuse has now won 56 non-conference home games in a row.  The last non-conference home loss was Dec. 22, 2006 versus Canisius.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SU Men's Rowing Wraps Up Outdoor Practices

by Matt Dowell

Syracuse University's men's rowing team is wrapping up outdoor practices for the fall.  With the weather getting progressively colder and the water bound to get icy, the team will move indoors and focus primarily on fitness.

The fall racing swing for the team included a Top 10 finish for the varsity eight at the Princeton Chase, coming in ninth out of 60 collegiate teams. But the Orange finished a disappointing 24th out of 32 crews at the Head of the Charles that included both collegiate and post-collegiate club rowers.

The goal going through the winter and into the spring season is to peak toward the end of the spring for the Eastern Sprints and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Regatta which serves as the national championships for Division I men's crew.

"We understand that we're not really race ready the first race of the season," said Captain Kyle Rogers, a graduate student in his fourth year rowing for SU. "Usually our stroke rating for the race is a little lower earlier in the season and we try and build up and add and kind of use what we learned in the first race and build on the next one. Hopefully by the final race of the season, we've peaked."

"Our coach (Dave Reischman) would say our goal is to row hard every day," said Jake Martens, a senior and the other captain. "To put in as much work as we possibly can to maximize the return on our investment and I would say our ultimate purpose behind doing that is to get back to the Grand Final at Sprints and hopefully top 10 in the country at the IRA."

Syracuse crews have won five IRA championships in the varsity eight-oared shell competition over the years but the most recent came in 1978. The crew had a disappointing third level finish at the IRA last spring after making the Grand Final in two of the three years before.

Martens says the athletes definitely feel the pressure.

"We're all very aware of the past successes of the university," he said. "And we're also aware of the fact that over the last 30 years or so it hasn't performed to the standards of its history."

The first spring race is a scrimmage at Princeton in March.

Orange Escapes Terriers Grip

Story and Video by Mason Walling
Photo by Michael Silver

            The St. Francis Terriers would simply not lie down on Monday night, but it was the Syracuse Orange who wound up standing at the end winning by a final score of 56-50.

             "It's a very difficult game," SU coach Jim Boeheim said afterward, "I think this will help us going forward."

            St. Francis came out of the break hot, taking the lead 33-32 on a three pointer from Anthony White with just over 17 minutes left.  Syracuse tied the game four times after that but the Orange would not hold the lead again until there was less than a minute left.

           "We've certainly got a lot of work to do and that's not a surprise," Boeheim said.

            DaJuan Coleman led the charge early on for the Orange, scoring 10 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first 12 minutes of play.  With just over two minutes to play in the first half, Trevor Cooney hit a three-point jumper from the corner and was fouled, giving Syracuse a six point lead after completing the four point play.  However, the Orange never led by more than eight in the first half, and the Terriers went into the break only trailing 30-26.

            With only one minute and thirty seconds remaining, C.J. Fair missed a contested layup, but Jerami Grant got the rebound and the put back to tie the game at 50.   On the next possession, Grant got a steal and drove the ball coast to coast, dishing it to Michael Gbinije for the go-ahead layup.

St. Francis forced up desperate shots on its next two offensive tries, leading to a must foul situation where a pair of free throws from Grant and another pair from Fair sealed the win for the Orange.  Syracuse held St. Francis scoreless in the final four minutes of the game.

Each team had three players finish in double digits as Coleman led the Orange with 14 points while Grant had 13 and Cooney 12. C.J Fair, who'd been averaging over 20 points a game was held to seven on two for 13 shooting.  Jalen Cannon of St. Francis led all scorers with 16 points, as Wayne Martin finished with 13 and Anthony White with 10.

The Terriers fall to 2-2 on the season, and the Orange improves to 4-0 as the team prepares to travel to Hawaii to finish out the bulk of the Maui Invitational. Monday's game was billed as the opener for the Maui tournament although had St. Francis pulled off the upset Syracuse would still have advanced.

            "Any team is beatable in the NCAA, we almost lost to St. Francis, so definitely going into this [Maui Invitational] we have to build our confidence up and get ready to play next time," Jerami Grant said after the game.