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January 27, 2007

 

SU’s Boeheim shrugs off milestone

Boeheim

Associated Press/Tim Larson
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, reacting to a referee’s call here, will coach in his 1,000th game when the Orange visit Big East foe Louisville tonight.

By JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE — He’s been disappointed by the defection of a homesick freshman, riled by criticism of his team’s pre-game ritual of locking arms during the playing of the national anthem, and befuddled by the inconsistency of his players.
Just another season for Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim. In his 31st year at his alma mater, the Hall of Fame coach has seen just about everything.
Now, he’s poised to experience something new. On Saturday night, he will coach in his 1,000th game when the Orange (15-5) visit Big East foe Louisville (14-6), becoming just the 22nd head coach in Division I history to reach that mark.
“I don’t think about it,” said Boeheim, who has 741 victories, tied for 14th all-time with former Temple coach John Chaney. “I just get ready to play. Numbers like that don’t mean that much. They will mean something some day when I look back on it, but right now the only numbers that matter are these games we’re playing.”
When Syracuse plays Louisville Saturday — facing one of his former assistants, Louisville coach Rick Pitino — Boeheim also will become the fifth active coach with 1,000 games on his resume, joining Texas Tech’s Bob Knight, UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, and Lute Olson of Arizona.
Boeheim also will be only the fifth Division I coach to reach the milestone of having coached at just one school, joining Jim Phelan (St. Mary’s), Ray Meyer (DePaul), Don Haskins (UTEP), Adolph Rupp (Kentucky), and Ed Diddle (Western Kentucky).
“It’s amazing,” said Mike Hopkins, who played for Boeheim in the early 1990s before joining his staff as an assistant coach 12 years ago. “Every year it seems like there’s more history, more history, more history.”
At age 62, Boeheim, a cancer survivor, isn’t showing any signs he’s ready to slow down, and athletic director Daryl Gross is glad about that.
With the football team struggling through a transition period since the firing of head coach Paul Pasqualoni two years ago, the basketball team is being counted on to make up for revenue lost from the thousands of unsold seats at the last 11 home football games.
And in this era, where schools try to woo the best athletes by building state-of-the-art facilities, Gross is always looking for a few dollars more to fund new projects deemed vital to future success. Such as that indoor basketball practice facility being planned with the help of $3 million from Carmelo Anthony, the star of Boeheim’s 2003 national championship team.
Hence, during Syracuse’s recent trip to play Marquette, before Boeheim coached the Orange to an important victory, he did some fundraising, too, at a luncheon in Milwaukee.
“His schedule is unbelievable,” said Pete Moore, associate director of athletic communications. “He meets with banks, Coaches vs. Cancer, Make-A-Wish Foundation, does two radio shows and one television show every week. He and (wife) Juli are involved with raising funds for the new children’s hospital (a few blocks from the Carrier Dome), he has USA Basketball stuff, conference calls. I don’t know how he does it.”
Neither does Hopkins.
“When we recruit, I just do half and (assistant coach) Rob (Murphy) goes out the other half,” Hopkins said. “Coach goes to all of them — and we’re tired. He’s amazing.”
On court this season, it’s been a struggle as the Orange remained wildly inconsistent. They fell out of the national rankings in December after consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Wichita State. The team lost freshman Mike Jones because he missed home and wasn’t playing as much as he thought he should.
In one game they could look like a top-10 contender, and the next like a squad not bound for the NCAA tournament, which has happened just five times on Boeheim’s watch.
The latest examples: Four days after beating Villanova 75-64, Syracuse’s best game of the season, the Orange blew a 19-point lead against Cincinnati before staggering to a 77-76 victory, then lost at St. John’s to end a 47-game winning streak against schools in New York state.
“We’ve been kind of a hot-and-cold team,” Hopkins said. “We’ve shown signs, but the inconsistencies have been the toughest thing.”
Still, the Orange are tied for third in the Big East with Louisville and Notre Dame and have 10 games left in the regular season.
“I think we’re in pretty good position,” said sophomore guard Eric Devendorf, who had a career-high 23 points in the loss to St. John’s. “We can run the table or let people run us off the floor.”
It starts in Freedom Hall.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Devendorf said. “I hope we can get him (Boeheim) a win.”

 


Cortland women keep on winning

OSWEGO — Give heaps of credit to the defense for helping SUNY Cortland women continue this remarkable winning streak.
The Red Dragons defeated host Oswego 60-58 in Friday night’s basketball test, as Sara Cavanaugh scored 23 points including the go-ahead free throw with 39 seconds left to play at Max Ziel Gymnasium.
The defense stepped up by drawing three offensive charge fouls from Oswego over the final three minutes of play to help secure this 15th consecutive victory for the Red Dragons — who are now all alone in first place with a perfect 8-0 record in SUNY Athletic Conference play. Coach Jeannette Yeoman’s squad stands 15-1 overall record and received some votes in the D3hoops.com Division III national poll this week.
Freshman Jessica Laing drew the final offensive charge foul with two seconds left when Oswego’s Heather Merino was driving the lane, Cortland protecting a one-point lead at the time.
Harassing Lakers shooters throughout the evening was important, too, as Oswego (6-3 SUNYAC, 12-5 overall) made just 30 percent of their attempts from the floor.
Junior forward Cavanaugh had 20 of her 23 points in the second half for the Red Dragons. Laing finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore forward Ali Canale tossed in eight points.
Oswego had three players in double figures, as Lindsey Marquit totaled 12, Samantha Driscoll 11 and Kelly Mraz 10.
This rematch of SUNYAC contenders — Cortland having pulled away in the late going for a 65-59 win over Oswego just last Saturday — was close throughout.
Cortland was ahead just 27-26 at halftime and did build an eight-point edge on several second half occasions, the last grabbing a 52-44 lead on a pair of Cavanaugh free throws with 7:33 left to play.
Though Oswego would never lead, the Lakers pulled even for deadlocks at 55-55, 57-57 and 58-58 — the last tie coming on an Alaina Hannahs free throw with 1:12 left to play.
After both teams traded turnovers, Cavanaugh made the first of two free throws to put Cortland ahead for keeps with 39 seconds left.
After a missed Oswego 3-pointer, the Red Dragon Brittany Martin missed a pair of three throws at 0:14 to give the hosts another chance to regain the lead. That’s when Laing drew the charge on Merino, the last of 19 Oswego turnovers.
Martin made the second of two free throws in the final second for the final two-point margin.
Cortland is back in action on Tuesday with another confrontation with a SUNYAC contender, traveling to New Paltz. Geneseo handed New Paltz its first conference loss last night, 71-63.
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Jutton Sets 3-Point Record
As Red Dragon Men Fall
OSWEGO — Though senior guard Dave Jutton set the school record for career 3-pointers, Cortland men never got things going offensively in an 82-64 loss to Oswego.
The Lakers (6-3 SUNYAC, 10-8 overall) had a 42-29 halftime lead and the Red Dragons (1-7, 5-12) were never able to get within single digits over the final 20 minutes of play.
Sophomore forward Carson Niehoff had 17 points and six rebounds to lead Cortland, while senior guard Dave Maggiacomo had 11 points.
Todd Franze topped Oswego with 17 points, the Lakers with five players finishing in double figures.
Jutton’s 3-pointer with 1:21 left was the 228th of his career, breaking the mark of 227 held by Adam Blauweiss (1997-2001). He made an addition trey to hike his career mark to 229, accounting for his six points in the contest.
Cortland is at New Paltz on Tuesday looking to snap a four-game losing streak.