February 27, 2007


Resurgent Orange handle Hoyas


Associated Press/Kevin Rivoli
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim (left) hugs Demetris Nichols with under a minute to play against Georgetown in Monday’s Big East game at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse won, 72-58.

AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE — Two weeks ago, Syracuse seemed destined for that other tournament. Not anymore.
After losing four times in five tries to ranked teams and struggling through a three-game midseason slide, the Orange (21-8, 10-5 Big East) punctuated their resurgence Monday night by beating No. 9 Georgetown 72-58 for their fifth straight victory.
It was only the second triumph in six games against ranked teams for Syracuse. But this one halted an 11-game winning streak by the conference’s top team, and that will look very good on the resume.
Georgetown (22-6, 12-3) had won 11 straight conference games for the first time in school history and defeated Pittsburgh 61-53 Saturday to avenge a road loss to the Panthers in January. The victory over Pitt gave the Hoyas sole possession of first place in the Big East.
“Georgetown has been playing the best of anybody in our conference, maybe as well as anybody in the country,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after his 747th career victory, 13th all-time in Division I and one more than Phog Allen. “The seniors deserve a lot of the credit. Five or six games ago, people were booing right here in Syracuse, and that’s tough to take.”
In the other Top 25 game Monday night, it was No. 3 Kansas 67, Oklahoma 65.
There were no boos on this night for the home team from the raucous Carrier Dome crowd of 26,287.
In the final game of his career, senior forward Demetris Nichols, the Big East’s leading scorer, had a game-high 22 points and helped key the 14-0 second-half spurt that decided the game. Senior Darryl Watkins helped make Georgetown center Roy Hibbert an afterthought. And senior Terrence Roberts, playing with a torn meniscus in his left knee, gutted out 29 minutes, finishing with six points, six rebounds, two steals and one block while giving his teammates a huge dose of heart.
“Two weeks ago, we didn’t deserve to be in (the NCAA tournament),” Boeheim said. “I’m proud of my kids. We knew five games ago we had to win and play well. This game was the culmination. This was our best game.”
Against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, the Hoyas fizzled. They committed 19 turnovers that Syracuse converted into 25 points and scored just six points off the Orange’s 13 turnovers.
Jeff Green, Georgetown’s leading scorer, finished with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting, the first time he failed to crack double figures in 10 games. And the 7-foot-3 Hibbert, who has had little success against Syracuse, continued that trend with just six points and two rebounds in 20 minutes. Starters Jessie Sapp, Jon Wallace and DaJuan Summers scored a combined 25 points on 4-for-29 shooting, with 15 coming from the free-throw line.
“We just weren’t converting on offense,” said Green, who had 10 rebounds. “We let them go on their runs and we didn’t go on ours.”
The key spurt began after Patrick Ewing Jr.’s three-point play and two free throws by Sapp put Georgetown up 44-43 with 11:58 left.
Sophomore Andy Rautins, coming off a career-high 19 points against Providence on Saturday, started it with a 3 from right wing. Nichols then drained a 3 from the right corner after his own steal, and Rautins hit again from left wing to give Syracuse a 56-46 lead with 7:31 left.
Nichols added a dagger when he hit a 3 as the shot-clock buzzer sounded for a 59-46 lead and Watkins hit a hook over Hibbert to complete the run.
Georgetown, first in the Big East and fifth nationally in scoring defense at 56.1 points per game, got a taste of its own medicine. The Hoyas shot 29.8 percent for the game, just 20 percent in the second half.
“You can’t let that happen on the road,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “You can’t miss some of the shots we missed and you can’t give them the looks that they got if you want to win. We picked the wrong night to have maybe our worst day of the year. They just beat us.”
Eric Devendorf had 11 points and a career-high 11 assists, Rautins had 13 points, and Paul Harris 11.
“We knew we were capable of beating them,” said Nichols, who finished 6-for-16 shooting. “We came out with a lot of drive and hunger.”
Syracuse, which moved into a fourth-place tie with Notre Dame in the conference, closes its regular season at Villanova on Saturday aiming to beat the Wildcats for the second straight time. A loss, though, won’t be so devastating now.
“We knew we needed a couple more wins to solidify (our chances to make the NCAA tournament),” Devendorf said. “I can’t really say we’re in or not, but this really helped.”


Cortland women sweep up SUNY honors

When it came to post-season conference basketball honors, regular season and playoff champion SUNY Cortland women made it a clean sweep.
Junior forward Sara Cavanaugh was named the SUNY Athletic Conference Player of the Year, while Red Dragon freshman forward Jessica Laing was selected the Rookie of the Year.
And head coach Jeannette Yeoman was named the Coach of the Year for a second straight year and fourth time overall.
Cavanaugh and Laing were also named to the all-league firs team, while sophomore guard Maggie Byrne was an honorable mention choice.
Cortland is 25-2 on the season and beat defending champion Oswego 59-50 this past Saturday in the SUNYAC playoff championship game.
Cavanaugh averages 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game for the Red Dragons this winter. She ranks ninth in school history with 1,082 career points and is only the third player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark in three seasons or less.
She ranks second on the Cortland squad with 50 three-pointers made. Cavanaugh is an all-league choice for the third straight year – she was on the second team as a freshman and the first team last year.
Laing leads Cortland with 16.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Her 433 points and 295 rebounds this season are the most ever by a Red Dragon freshman. She is the team’s top free throw shooter at 81 percent and is second on the club with 40 steals.
Byrne averages 11.0 points and a team-high 4.3 assists per game. She leads the Red Dragons with 44 steals and 66 three-pointers made and is second in free throw percentage (79.2). Byrne was also an honorable mention all-league selection as a freshman last season.
Yeoman has directed the Red Dragons to the school’s sixth NCAA Division III tournament berth in her nine seasons. She has a 205-47 record at Cortland, where her teams have won at least 25 games five times.




Shooting Stars girls take sectional title

Local players played an important role as the Ithaca Shooting Stars 16-Under girls’ hockey team won the Central Section championship over the weekend, and with it a berth in the New York State Amateur Hockey Association16-Under Tier 2 Tournament March 9-11 in Clinton.
Annabelle Jones from Homer shared goalie duties with Sarah Eisenhut in a pair of 4-0 victories over the Camillus Cougars. Cortland’s Janesa Cornish scored three goals in the two games, while Ariana Cornish had one goal.
McGraw’s Diane Ralyea scored a goal as the Shooting Stars 19-Under team lost to the Mohawk Valley Hurricanes 3-1 in sectionals, and Samantha Craig from Cortland had a goal, assisted by Kendall Brug, also from Cortland, in a 4-1 loss to the Camillus Cougars.
Cortland’s Ali Pace made 42 saves in a 4-4 tie with the Rome Grizzlies, while Marissa Ramos from Dryden had an assist in a 9-1 win over the Camillus Cougars. Pace had 21 mores saves in a 4-2 loss to the Skaneateles Lakers.
Host Cortland split four games and finished second in the Fire On Ice Tournament over the weekend.
Trevor Andrews had the only goal and goalie Ryan Gabriel made 22 assists in the team’s opener on Friday, a 5-1 loss to Auburn. Ben Taylor and Jackson Brazo had three goals and an assist apiece and Gabriel stopped seven shots to lead the way in a 12-0 win over New Hartford on Saturday. Jayson Wojcinski had two goals and an assist and Trevor Andrews two goals for the winners, while Emily Krebs had a goal and an assist and Ben Gravel one goal.
Gravel, Dylan Cooper and Mike Turck had a goal apiece in a 3-1 win over Midstate later on Saturday, Gabriel making 19 saves. Andrews scored the only goal in a 5-1 loss to Auburn in the championship game, in which Gabriel turned aside 25 shots.
Nate Walker scored four goals and added an assist as the Stafford Chevrolet/Economy Paving/Homer Logging squad opened a four-game week with a 7-6 win over visiting Center State last Tuesday. Joel Potter had a goal and two assists, while Conor Paquin and Shea Swartout scored once each. Goalie Gage Eldred stopped 21 shots.
Swartout, Walker and Danny Turck had a goal and an assist apiece in a 6-3 loss to visiting Valley in which Eldred made 17 saves. Walker scored three times while Joel potter had a goal and an assist and Mike Gibbs netted his first goal of the season in a 5-4 win Saturday at Midstate, Eldred with 17 more saves.
Potter had the only goal and Eldred made 28 saves in an 8-1 loss to host Valley on Sunday.
The Barden Homes team lost twice on the weekend. Matt Sovocool and Alex Fisher scored in a 2-0 loss to host Mohawk Valley on Saturday, goalie Dylan Riker with 14 saves. In a 6-4 loss at Lysander on Sunday, Nate walker scored twice while Kayla Welshman and Owen Barden scored once each and Riker stopped 29 shots.