Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Free Throw Shooting - Whoas!

Syracuse has been shooting a blistering 88% from the free throw line in Maui, hitting 45 of 51 free throws against Minnesota and California.  Whether it is the friendly rims, the friendly confines of the small gym, the great weather, the low altitude, or whatever, it would be wonderful if this were a sign of the season to come. 

It won't be, as the shooting will tend to return to the norm, but for now it feels like the Orange are fielding a team of Gerry McNamaras.

Four Syracuse starters now are shooting 80% or better from the free throw line. C.J. Fair at 88% leads the way. Trevor Cooney is at 85%, Tyler Ennis 82% and Rakeem Christmas also at 82%.  Baye Keita comes in at 75%.

Christmas is just an aberration and will eventually return to his norm of 57% or so; it would be great if he were to have developed into a 70% shooter. It may have happened.

Fair has improved every year, and has been about a 75% free throw shooter the past two years.  If he could hover around 80%, that would be fantastic considering how often he will get to the line.

Cooney only took 15 free throws his freshman year, making 11 for 73%.  We really don't know what type of free throw shooter he is, if given enough repetitions to remove anomalies.  However, considering he is a three point shooting specialist, I would not be surprised if 83-85% was his capable range.

Ennis is a freshman, and we have no collegiate experience to fall back upon for him.  If he could stay at 80%, that would be fantastic.

Keita is about a 65% free throw shooter, so he will regress, though he has had a habit of making the clutch free throws.

Bottom line is that there is hope that Maui isn't just an illusion.  The Orange aren't going to hit 23 of 24 free throws routinely, like they did against California.  But, perhaps, they can hit 75% as a team?  It does help that the backcourt of Cooney and Ennis has a potential of hitting 80%, and if you combine that with a mean scorer of Fair hitting about the same, that's a lot of free throw shots from good shooters during clutch moments in the game.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bring On Colgate

Saturday will be the 166th game between Colgate and Syracuse on the basketball court, the longest rivalry in Orange basketball history.  Syracuse leads the all-time series 120-45, and it hasn't been a competitive series since the late 1960s, but nevertheless I am happy they still try to meet annually.

The series was not always lopsided.  In fact for the first 60 years of the Syracuse basketball program, Colgate was unquestionably the biggest rival the Orangemen had, and often was THE game of the season. The Colgate game often had the privilege of being the last game of the season, or at least among the last few, giving both teams a season to build up to the game.

The series started in 1902, the second season of Syracuse basketball, and the sixth game the Orangemen ever played. Syracuse would win that inaugural game 33-8, with junior forward Earl Twombley leading the way with 12 points.  Colgate would win three weeks later with a 21-17 victory in Hamilton.

The series almost permanently ended in 1911 following a particularly physical game on March 10th, ending the season. The Orangemen would win 19-14, but several fights broke out in the game. Junior guard Walt Davey reportedly could not finish the game because of the beating he took.  Both schools agreed to sever all athletic ties as a result of the game, not only ending Syracuse's biggest rival in basketball, but also its biggest rival in football.  However, in the off season the schools would reconsider and the rivalry continued February 14, 1912.

The series remained highly competitive up through 1962.  Colgate would beat Syracuse 67-63 on February 24th, 1962, extending Syracuse's then NCAA record losing streak to 27 consecutive games.  Ironically, it would be the last time Colgate would beat Syracuse at basketball.  Carl Vernick was the big gun on those Syracuse teams.

On February 16, 1965 Syracuse played an exciting 93-90 triple overtime game in Hamilton.  The star of the game was legendary Dave Bing, who would score 45 points.

Syracuse would continue to play Colgate twice a year through the 1968-1969 season.  The games while still close at times, were definitely falling in Syracuse's favor.  Colgate was still a late season game until the 1976-1977 season, coinciding with the dawn of the Jim Boeheim coaching era and the Bouie & Louie Show.  Syracuse would beat Colgate in the third game that year, 109-63. Most all of the games since that time have been in the early season (if at all).

A nine year period from the 1984-1985 season to the 1992-1993 season saw no games between the two rivals. The series revived in 1993-1994, and Colgate gave Syracuse a tight game in 1997, with Syracuse winning 78-74 behind Todd Burgan's 19 pts and 10 steals.  The two teams have played every season since 1993-1994.

Good luck to the Colgate Red Raiders on the season; I am glad to see them playing the Orange again this year. 

Let's Go Orange!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

On this Veterans day, as I have done each year past, I would like to thank all those who have served our country, putting their lives on the line to do those tasks that need to be done. The Orange basketball team has had its share of veterans over the decades. And has been tradition at OrangeHoops, I would like to recognize those former basketball Orangemen who did serve. I acknowledge this is not a complete list; only those I know of (each year I add a few more). I imagine more Orangemen were in the service that I am omitting; if so, please post a recognition here! Also please feel free to recognize any other veterans in the comments.

In World War I, the following served:
Albert Ackley
Bradley Barnard
Ross Bibbens
Meyer Bloom
Jim Casey
Ed Cronauer
John Cronauer
Charles Fasce
Russ Finsterwald
Ken Harris
Ted Huntley
Bernie Kates
Ken Lavin
Nathan Malefski
Danny Martin
Walter ‘Dutch’ Notman
Walter Peters
Elias Raff
Billy Rafter
Horace Ruffin
Courtland Sanney
Clifford Steele

In World War II, the following served:
Jim Ackerson
Earl Ackley
Lou Alkoff
John Balinsky
John Beck
Leo Canale
Dick Casey
Larry Crandall
Wilbur Crisp
Dan DiPace
Les Dye
Alton Elliott
John Emerich
Bob Felasco
Paul Ferris
Billy Gabor
Ed Glacken
Joe Glacken
Marc Guley
Mark Haller
Lew Hayman
Bill Hennemuth
Tom Huggins
George Jarvis
Ed Jontos
Jim Konstanty
Stan Kruse (Kruszewski)
Glenn Loucks
Guy Luciano
Saul Mariaschin
Don McNaughton
Tom McTiernan
Francis Miller
Joe Minsavage
Andy Mogish
Roy Peters
Hank Piro
Phil Rakov
John Schroeder
Bill Schubert
Bob Shaddock
Wilmeth Sidat-Singh
Red Stanton
Mike Stark
Bobby Stewart
Joe Sylvestri
Charles Taggart
Ray Tice
Joe Weber

In Korea the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
Fred Serley

In Vietnam, the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
George Crofoot
Rick Dean

The following were veterans who served but were fortunate to miss a war era:
Art Barr
Mel Besdin
Rudy Cosentino
Roy Danforth
Ronnie Kilpatrick
George Koesters
Tom Jockle
Jack Malone
Frank Reddout

Four of the aforementioned players deserve special note, as they sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Wilmeth Sidat-Singh was a member of the Tuskegee Airman, and was killed in a training accident when his plane crashed into Lake Michigan in 1943.

Charles Taggart was a member of the US Navy serving aboard the USS Frederick C. Davis, and was killed when his ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on April 24, 1945. Taggart and 115 crew members perished.

John Cronauer was killed in World War I in 1918.

Joe Minsavage was killed in World War II on June 19, 1943 when his ship was attacked and he was lost at sea.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Southerland Keeps Waiting

James Southerland made the Charlotte Bobcats opening day roster; an impressive accomplishment in itself for the undrafted rookie out of Syracuse.  Five games into the season, Southerland is still waiting to make his NBA debut.  He has been a healthy 'coaches decision' scratch for each of those games.

The Bobcats have been playing about a 9 to 10 man rotation for each game, and three of their five games have been close games. Southerland does appear to be the last man on the bench, as thirteen other Bobcats have played.

Best of luck to Southerland, and I hope the opportunity for some playing time arises soon.