Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#804 for Boeheim behind Balanced Scoring

The Orange moved to 5-0 with a hard earned victory over Cornell. Syracuse grabbed control of the game in the second half and made the final score one sided, but Cornell shot the lights out in the first half, and made the Orange work for this one. This was Jim Boeheim’s 804th career victory, tying him for 7th all time with Eddie Sutton.

The Orange have not yet played a game that has been close in the final two minutes, so there are many questions on how those types of games will go for Syracuse. Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf were the ‘go to’ guys in the past couple of years. There may not be ‘the guy’ to go to this year, at least not in the classical sense of the big scorer. I suspect as the season goes on that one of the guards will become the playmaker that you want the ball in the hands of, and he’ll make the right decision. And I think Wesley Johnson and Andy Rautins, depending on the scenario will be the guys who end up taking those last minutes shots more often than not. But we will have to wait and see.

Syracuse has a statistical anomaly after the first five games. Five different players have led the Orange in scoring this season: Arinze Onuaku, Andy Rautins, Scoop Jardine, Wesley Johnson and Brandon Triche. This year’s team is a selfless team, as a few of the players have already stated, and so far the scoring indicates that. It will be interesting how that plays out over the course of the year.

When was the last time the Orangemen had 5 different players lead them in scoring in the first five games? If you go back to the 2003-2004 season, they had four players do it in the first five games: Gerry McNamara, Hakim Warrick, Billy Edelin and Terrence Roberts.

You could go back to 1980-1981 where Tony Bruin, Leo Rautins, Erich Santifer, Danny Schayes and Marty Headd all led the team in scoring in the first five games. But I would not really count this one, as Headd and Rautins tied for the lead in scoring in one game, and Schayes led it two other games.

The last time that five different players led the team in scoring for each of the five games was 34 years ago back in 1976-1977, Jim Boeheim’s first year (and victories #1 through #4). Larry Kelley, Roosevelt Bouie, Dale Shackleford, Marty Byrnes and Ross Kindel all had a hand in leading the team in scoring. That team would end up 26-4. Noteworthy is that Louis Orr was on that team, and was not one of those five players.

Three other times in school history this pattern has emerged. In 1935-1936, Ollie Scott, Norm Leavitt, Jack Curran, Edgar Sonderman and Johnny Simonaitus each had the honor. The squad would finish the year 12-5.

In 1922-1923, the Orangemen struggled to find a consistent leader, and had six different players lead them in scoring in the first six games: George Fisher, George Noakes, Pete MacRae, Bernie Kates, Pep Fasce, and John Gallivan. This team struggled to 9-11. Ironically, they started out 5-0.

And back in 1918-1919, the Orangemen had Jimmy Kernan, Bob Marcus, John Barsha, Nick Paul and Danny Martin all take the honors in the first five games. That squad would finish 13-3. Ironically, the team’s second leading scorer Charley Dolley, would not take scoring honors until the 7th game of the season; Dolley was also the team’s clutch shooter that year winning three games with last minute baskets.

We'll have to wait and see if Syracuse can pull a sixth top scorer for the Columbia game this coming Friday. Perhaps Rick Jackson or Kris Joseph will get the honor.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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