Friday, November 13, 2009

Let's Play Two

“Let’s play two”, was what the legendary Ernie Banks was attributed to saying. The Orange faithful can all remember back to the memorable 6 Overtime game against UConn on March 12th, 2009 at the Big East Tournament. It surely seemed like Syracuse played two that day. And technically, they did as when the game ended at 1:40 am EDT, they went to bed, woke up and played West Virginia that night (and of course, that game went into overtime too). I doubt we’ll ever see another team play 195 minutes of basketball in the Big East tournament, even if they expand to another round.

The other thing we are likely never to see again is a scheduled doubleheader of basketball. Who would be crazy enough to do that? Well, former Syracuse coach and athletic director Lew Andreas did just that to kick off the 1948-1949 season. Syracuse played the University of Toronto on the afternoon of December 4th, 1948 at the Syracuse Coliseum, and later that evening came back and played the Ithaca College. Syracuse would win both games easily, beating Toronto 81-41, and Ithaca 76-34. Jack Kiley and Ed Stickel would lead the scoring for the day, both having a combined 25 points for each game.

Of course, Syracuse did have some advantages in those games, especially when compared to the Syracuse/UConn 6OT game. First of all, the competition was far less intense, as the final scores indicated. Second of all, there was a couple of hours break between the two games. And third, and most importantly, was how deep Andreas went into his bench for each game.

In terms of playing his reserve players, Andreas was the anti-Boeheim. 19 different Orangemen would play against Toronto in the first game, 17 players would play in the second game. Coach Andreas was notorious for making wholesale substitutions during his coaching career on the hill, and often had a First Team, Second Team, Third Team, that he would send in as a whole group. In some games, he would start his second team, and then bring his first team in.

The 19 players that Andreas played in the Ithaca game were not a school record. On January 14, 1939, Syracuse played Fordham at Archbold Gymnasium. The Orangemen routed the Rams 57-22. Andreas would play 21 different players that day; the local news that day questioned if that was possibly a collegiate record (I don’t know the answer to that even now).

To put 21 players into perspective, Jim Boeheim has only played 20 different players the past two seasons combined, and 25 different players the past three seasons combined.

Anyhow, let’s play two!

No comments: