March 06, 2007


UConn first hurdle for Syracuse


AssociatedPress/Tom Mihalek
Syracuse’s head coach Jim Boeheim signals a play to his team during Sunday’s loss at Villanova. SU faces UConn to open up Big East tournament play Wednesday.

SYRACUSE (AP) — A year ago, Gerry McNamara led Syracuse on a stunning four-game run to the Big East tournament title to resurrect what had become a lost season.
One of those stirring victories was in overtime against archrival Connecticut, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation, and it erased the pain of two losses to the Huskies in the regular season.
This time, the Huskies are reeling and have no shot at a berth in the NCAA tournament unless they win four games at Madison Square Garden. Connecticut (17-13, 6-10 Big East) finished with its worst conference record since 1988-89, scoring a season-low 46 points on Saturday in a 13-point loss at No. 9 Georgetown.
The fifth-seeded Orange (21-9, 10-6), who lost their season finale 78-75 at Villanova on Saturday, represent the first hurdle for the 12th-seeded Huskies (Wednesday, 2 p.m.) in a tournament that has been a crapshoot in the recent past.
“Everybody in our league is competitive. Everybody is always motivated for it,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said Monday. “They’re all excited to go to New York, they’re all excited to play, and they know the competition level. Whoever you’re playing in this league, they’re good enough to beat you.”
Syracuse is the two-time defending champion, having twice surged in the postseason after going a combined 0-7 during the regular season in 2004-05 and 2005-06 against UConn and Pittsburgh, the top two teams.
“Anybody can win in New York. We proved that last year,” Boeheim said. “We were the ninth seed and we won the tournament. Any of the top 12 teams can conceivably win the tournament. I wouldn’t put it past anybody. We did it. We went into New York playing horribly, got beat our last three games. It’s a tough tournament.”
Saturday’s loss stopped Syracuse’s five-game winning streak. That hasn’t put a damper on the Orange’s confidence because their streak of success included a 73-63 victory over Connecticut in the Carrier Dome that was won on the boards. Syracuse outrebounded the Huskies 55-45 two weeks after Connecticut posted a 67-60 home win in the series, embarrassing the Orange 49-32 on the boards.
“We rebounded. That is a key to all of our big games,” said senior forward Demetris Nichols, who led the Big East in scoring (18.8 points per game) and is a candidate for conference player of the year honors. “As long as we get on the boards, I don’t think they can play with us. We can get any shot we want. As long as we do the little things, we should be fine.”
Although Syracuse is just 2-4 against ranked teams this season, the Orange beat Georgetown 72-58 a week ago to reach 10 conference victories. Even a poor showing in New York doesn’t figure to put on a damper on the Orange’s postseason hopes.
“We were fifth place in the league,” Boeheim said. “I would think we (the Big East) are going to get more than five teams in (the NCAA tournament).”
For a change, the Huskies aren’t one of those teams right now. They do, however, have that win over Syracuse — and a lot to shoot for.
“We beat them, so I suppose there is some confidence,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “I’ve gotta hope when we go to New York — and I’m glad we’re going because we certainly could not have gone — that we start to make a new impression.
“It’s a fresh start,” Calhoun said. “And it’s nice to have a fresh start.”
Notes: Boeheim has 747 career victories, just three behind Calhoun. ... If Syracuse beats UConn, it will play fourth-seeded Notre Dame in the second round. The Irish humbled the Orange 103-91 in January at the Carrier Dome, the most points against Syracuse under the teflon dome, which opened in 1980. ... Despite the impressive win over Georgetown, Syracuse only received three votes in Monday’s AP Top 25 while the Hoyas retained their No. 9 ranking.


Pee Wee Flames finished third at states

The Cortland Flames Pee Wee Travel youth hockey team, sponsored by Borg-Warner, finished third in its five-team pool with a 1-2-1 record in the 2007 NYSAHA Pee Wee Tier III State Tournament in Olean over the weekend
The Cortland squad, which didn’t advanced to the semifinal round, opened with a 5-0 loss to the Bear Mountain Bears on Friday in which goalie Cory Broyles made 32 saves. Also on Friday, Zach Daniels had three goals and an assist, Casey Bergeron two goals and two assists and Leo Riley two goals and one assist in a 10-4 win over the Olean Arrows. Kyle Gibbons added a goal and two assists, Jordan Zehr and Dakota Baylor one goal each and Broyles 13 saves, while Zach Randall stopped four shots.
Daniels and Riley had a goal and an assist apiece and Sabrina Edwards the tying goal at 9:24 of third period in a 3-3 deadlock with Thousand Islands on Saturday as Broyles made 22 saves. Broyles made 22 saves later on Saturday in a 5-0 loss to Batavia.
Host Cortland won two out of three games but failed to advance out of its bracket in a JAM Tournament. Dylan Riker earned the shutout with 17 saves while Curtis Howland, Alex Fisher, Kayla Welshman, Miles Robbins and Alex Rosato had one goal each in a 5-0 win over Lysander on Friday.
Drew Wojcinski had three goals, Howland a goal and two assists and Welshman a goal and an assist Saturday in a 5-1 win over Mohawk Valley in which Riker stopped 15 shots. Later on Saturday Wojcinski had the only goal and Riker 18 saves in a 4-1 loss to Center State.
The Wallace Construction/Verizon squad went 2-2 and finished fifth in a 10-team field at a JAM Tournament in Clinton. Matt May and Tristan Cooper had two goals each and Colden Kimber made six saves in a 6-4 loss to host Clinton in the opener. May and Dakota Strout scored once each in a 6-2 loss to Center State, Tyler Wallace making 18 saves.
Kimber made six saves and Easton DiIorio had the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Lysander I, and Kimber had 10 saves while May had a goal and an assist and Jake Karpovage and Wallace one goal each in a 3-0 win over Onondaga.
The Stafford Chevrolet/Economy Paving/Homer Logging team went 2-1 on the weekend. Gage Eldred made five saves for the shutout while Nate Walker had two goals and an assist, Danny Turck and Mike Gibbs a goal and an assist apiece and Shea Swartout, Sidney Sherman, Julia Brazo and Brian Ordway a goal apiece in an 8-0 win over Rochester on Friday.
Eldred made 21 saves Sunday in a 6-0 home loss to Watertown. The team then traveled to New Hartford and won 4-3 as Walker had three goals, Potter a goal and an assist and Eldred 32 saves.
Annabelle Jones from Homer and fellow goalie Sarah Eisenhut made 25 saves apiece during a weekend that saw the Ithaca Shooting Stars 16-Under team beat the Mohawk Valley Hurricanes 19-Under team 4-3 before losing twice to the Tier 1 16-Under Princeton Tiger Lillies, 3-0 and 4-2. Cortland’s Janesa Cornish had a two goals in the win over Mohawk Valley.
After the Shooting Stars 19-Under lost to the Mohawk valley 19-Unders 4-0, they spent Sunday in a mini-tournament in Geneva with 15-minute running clock games. After a scoreless deadlock with the Geneva Generals 19-Unders, McGraw’s Diane Ralyea had the goal in a 1-1 tie with the Ithaca Sirens women’s team.
Cortland’s Samantha Craig scored in a 1-1 tie with the Monroe County 19-Unders, and after a 1-0 semifinal win over the Sirens, the Shooting Stars beat Geneva 1-0 in a sudden-death shootout.




Red Lions are smart

CINCINNATUS — The Cincinnatus Central volleyball squad has earned a Scholar-Athlete Team Award from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
The Red Lions had a an overall academic average of 91 percent this past season, and the players who made the award possible will be presented with pins and certificates from NYSPHSAA.
Cincy Awards Night on Hold
The Winter Sports Awards Night at Cincinnatus set for tonight has been postponed, according to athletic director Stu Frankel. A makeup date will be announced.