Friday, November 21, 2014

Searching for that Big Time Scorer (30 points)

Amidst Syracuse’s scoring woes in this young season, I find myself longing for a big time scorer on the team.  The type of player who could carry the team for a night, with a 30+ point effort.  It may seem that Syracuse does not have that type of player right now, but that would only be if you have a short memory.  Trevor Cooney bombed Notre Dame for 33 points last February 2014 as he hit 9 of 12 three point shots.   Of course, we all know that Cooney can shoot; it is just that he can be very streaky and inconsistent and he is currently in the middle of a long slump.

Overall, 58 different Orangemen have scored 30+ points in agame; this has been accomplished 179 different times.

The first time was in 1904 when George Kirchgasser scored 30 against Jenners Prep.  Kirchgasser scored all 30 from the floor; he took no free throw shots in the game.  Because it was an earlier era, it isn’t recognized today as an official accomplishment.

The first official 30+ point game by an Orangemen occurred in 1943 when Bob Shaddock scored 30 over rival Colgate.

The Syracuse record for points in a game is 47 by Bill Smith.  Smith shot 17 of 23 from the floor, and made 13 free throws in a high scoring game against LaFayette.

Dave Bing scored 30 or more points in 20 different games, or roughly 26% of the varsity games he played at Syracuse.  That’s just in case you ever really wondered about the greatness of Bing.

Sharpshooting Greg Kohls is next on the list with 14 games with 30+ points.  The amazing thing about Kohls was that he barely played his sophomore season (freshman couldn’t play in his era).  He played 54 varsity games his junior and senior season as like Bing, scored 30+ in 26% of the games. Kohls was a terrific perimeter shooter; who knows how many 30+ point games he would have had if there had been a three point shot in that era.

Billy Owens is third with 10 games with 30+ points.  Owens was the first player under Jim Boeheim to average 20+ points a game. 7 of those 10 games occurred his junior season, after Derrick Coleman and Stephen Thompson had graduated.

30 point games have occurred everywhere.  94 times they have occurred at home (53% of the time).  59 occurred at the opponent’s home court.  8 occurred in a mid-season tournament, 2 in the post season NIT, 1 in the ECAC, 7 in the Big East tournament and 8 in the NCAA Tournament.

It may be surprising to see what players never accomplished the feat.  Derrick Coleman, Syracuse’s second all-time leading scorer never scored 30 points in a game.  Part of that reason was that Coleman was always surrounded by other great scorers in Sherman Douglas, Rony Seikaly, Stephen Thompson and Billy Owens.  But Douglas, Seikaly and Owens all did it.

Stephen Thompson, Syracuse’s 7th all-time leading scorer never hit 30.  I’m sure besides playing with other great scorers, that the inability to make free throws and a three point shot kept Thompson from that mark.  Thompson was a great scorer though; I’m not sure if there was ever a better scorer in the Boeheim era.

C.J. Fair, who finished as Syracuse’s 15th all-time leading scorer, never did it. Nor did Brandon Triche at #17 (though his uncle Howard did it), or #18 Todd Burgan, or #22 Jason Hart.
There have likewise been some surprising players who have had the unexpected big nights.

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown had the talent on the basketball court, as well as the gridiron and the lacrosse field. He was second on the team in scoring his sophomore season with 15 ppg, and he would score 33 against Sampson Air Force Base that winter. 

In January 1952, Bucky Roche scored 35 at Cornell.  The senior guard was second in the team in scoring with 14 ppg; but he had scored only 121 points in his career before his senior year.

In December 1962, sophomore guard Phil Schoff would score 30 points against Cornell in a big loss.  Schoff would finish the season as the teams third scorer at 10.4 ppg.  Schoff would lose his starting position his junior year with the arrival of Dave Bing, Sam Penceal and Chuck Richards, though he would remain a valuable reserve.

In December 1986, senior forward Howard Triche would score 31 points in win over Northeastern. Triche was the fifth leading scorer on the team that year, and that was the only time in his career he would lead the Orangemen in scoring for a game.

The most surprising was probably Gene Waldon.  Waldron put up 40 points against Iona in the 1983 Carrier Classic. Waldron did this in the non-three point era.  He was the fifth leading scorer on the team that year, averaging 9.2 ppg and Waldon had never been a big scorer before.

If not for Waldron, the most surprising may have been senior Allen Griffin.  Griffin would score 31 in a double overtime win against St. John’s .  He as the fourth leading scorer on the team at 10.8 ppg, and had averaged only 3 ppg his junior year.  His method of scoring 31 points was highly unusual too. Griffin only made 5 of 9 baskets that night.  However, 3 of those 5 made field goals were 3 point baskets.  And he was sent to the free throw line 22 times where he made 18 of the them.

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