By Arnie Leshin
Amazing, for 49 years since 1972, Syracuse’s men’s basketball team would welcome upstate New York university Colgate and just keep winning each and every time, that is until the last two seasons bounced in.
And with Wednesday’s night solid effort at the Orange’s JAMA Wireless Dome brought an 80-68 win for the Raiders, they actually now have their own streak now with two-straight wins in the lengthy series of Division I schools.
It put Colgate at 3-1 after opening with an 88-87 loss at Buffalo, a 78-62 win over Brown, and a 93-69 romp versus visiting Wells, Colgate actually donated long-time head coach Jim Boeheim’s latest edition. It allowed an opening short jumper, then responded with a 3 and maintained the lead until the final buzzer. Its shooting was remarkable, hitting on 63 percent of its first half attempts that included 12-of-18 from the 3-point ark and on top by 14 at the halftime.
The advantage stayed because the second half was much like the first. Every time the Orange made a run, the visitors responded. Time after time, excellent backcourt work brought a ton of assists that brought buckets from the likes of 6-foot-5 senior standout Tucker Richardson, 6-11 junior Jeff Woodard, 6-7 senior Ryan Moffett, 6-1 senior Preston Parker, and 6-6 freshman Brady Cummings.
They have height, they controlled the backboards with one 6-11 player, a pair of 6-10s, and another at 6-9, and Richardson was the main man. He tossed in shots from the corner, taped in second chances, hauled down rebounds, and swiped the ball numerous time via his alert defense.
Said Colgate’s young head coach Matt Langel: “We should be 4-0, we lost a close one at Buffalo. We have a very good coordinated team with size, balance, experience, a run of shooters, unselfish, handle the ball very well, and alert on defense. It’s been tough all these years for Colgate against Syracuse, but we now have a 2-year statement.”
Richardson led all scorers with 22 points and added five assists and seven boards. Four other Raiders were in double figures, and the Orange just had no answers. It twice closed to within 11 points but never closer. It would score, drop back on defense with hope, but back would come Colgate, and just like that, the lead would increase again, once in the second half to as much as 19 points. And when it comes to experience, it has 10 juniors and seniors on its 13-man roster.
“It was disappointing,” said Boeheim looking for his 1,000 win as he is now second in victories to retired Duke head coach Mike Krzyewski. “We scored first and they just took off, almost like they scored on every shot. They moved it around, tossed in quick shots, and it was like we just kept saying, ‘Oh no, not again.’
The Orange’s next game is against Long Island University at home Thursday night. It has height with a pair of 6-11, one 6-10, and a four-year point guard starter in 6-1 Joseph Girard, in addition to talented 6-11 senior Jesse Williams from the Netherlands. The problem is Boeheim recruits but never allows for depth. His reserves are always few, and he brings in about 3-4 players who become the defense in practice and hardly get into games unless he’s up by a lot or visa-versa.
Boeheim just turned 74. He was born in Lyons, N.Y., a small town 44 miles from Syracuse. He played there and has now been head coach for 53 years. His sons played for him in recent years, with Jim, Jr. being the leading scorer and one of the best outside shooters in the country. He won one national championship led by freshman Carmelo Anthony in 2003. He lost in two other finals, to Kentucky and Indiana.
Maybe he should drop Colgate, maybe not, not with being way at 49-2 Hamilton. also a hit Broadway show “Hamilton’, is in Madison County just south of Syracuse. The next men’s basketball contest is Saturday with a visit from Duquesne.