Student Reporting Archive

’02 Howard Chen Returns to SU

September 24, 2019

Story and Photo by Kyla Wright SYRACUSE, N.Y. – ESPN International Producer Howard Chen returns to the place where his sports journalism career began – the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A 2002 broadcast journalism graduate, Chen knew that he’d be in the industry, whether it was in front of or behind the camera. Chen […]

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Story and Photo by Kyla Wright

SYRACUSE, N.Y.  ESPN International Producer Howard Chen returns to the place where his sports journalism career began – the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

A 2002 broadcast journalism graduate, Chen knew that he’d be in the industry, whether it was in front of or behind the camera. Chen discussed negotiation skills, the media industry, his Newhouse experience and his career with current undergraduate and graduate students.

Growing up in Canada and eventually moving to Texas, Chen fell in love with hockey among other sports, but quickly realized he wouldn’t play them professionally, so he decided to find another way to enter into the sports realm: journalism.

As a student, Chen was active in WAER, Z89 and UUTV (now CitrusTV). He credits being on staff for these outlets for setting him a part from his competition upon graduation. Chen worked at NBC and FOX affiliate stations before reporting for Comcast SportsNet Houston, which landed him his current position at ESPN.

While at ESPN, Chen has been allowed numerous opportunities such as traveling to the ESPYs, NBA Finals and All-Star Game, US Open and at least two NBA games a week.

“I get to do all this big picture stuff, I never imagined myself doing and I get to see all my friends while in all these cities,” Chen said.

Though he is now primarily behind the camera, it was important for Chen to spend time in his career in front of it. He always dreamt of  inspiring others who look like him, as there aren’t a lot of Asian sports broadcasters.

“I knew I could do more good and influence more people if my face was on a screen,” said Chen.

Chen also advised students to learn at least one other language and to be open to all opportunities.

“Be willing to go to small markets, sleep on the couch,” Chen said. “I look back and I have no regrets – you’ll definitely have your ups and downs and you can’t help but wonder, ‘am I stuck here forever?’”

Chen attributes a lot of his successes to Newhouse and his friends for pushing him to be better. As all other Newhouse alumni, Chen is a part of the coined, “Newhouse Mafia.” Some alumni don’t particularly care for the name, but Chen doesn’t feel the same, he feels it makes up a piece of who he is.

“I don’t hate it, I love it,” said Chen. “I take pride in it.”

Revitalized Maryland offense rolls over Syracuse

September 24, 2019

Story by: Brady Williams  Photos by: Aaron Kassman COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The No. 21 Syracuse Orange are suddenly underdogs again, losing on the road to the University of Maryland Terrapins 63-20. Coming off their best season in recent memory, the Orange (1-1) entered this season ready to impress the NCAA. Instead, the Terps throttled […]

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Story by: Brady Williams 

Photos by: Aaron Kassman

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The No. 21 Syracuse Orange are suddenly underdogs again, losing on the road to the University of Maryland Terrapins 63-20. Coming off their best season in recent memory, the Orange (1-1) entered this season ready to impress the NCAA. Instead, the Terps throttled ‘Cuse from the very first snap.

The Orange overwhelmed

Maryland scored 21 points in a first quarter dominated by Maryland’s blitzkrieg offense. Following a quick three-and-out on Syracuse’s opening drive, Maryland’s junior transfer quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 63 yards in a commanding march downfield that ended in a touchdown for tight end Tyler Mabry.

The drive set the tone for most of the game. The Orange’s defensive line provided a decent push throughout the game, but the Terrapins relied on quick passes, play action, and a vast array of weapons to neutralize the rush.

In addition to their struggle to keep up with Maryland’s versatile offense, Syracuse simply failed to execute in several areas. On Syracuse’s second drive, the offensive line began to collapse, forcing quarterback Tommy DeVito to rely on his legs. As he took off on the fourth play of the drive, Keandre Jones forced DeVito to fumble, resulting in a turnover on the Syracuse 32-yard line.

The turnover was Maryland’s 14th straight game with a forced turnover — the fifth-longest streak in the NCAA — right behind SU with 15.

Jackson continued to spread the ball around with ease as the Syracuse secondary struggled to cover Terp receivers. When throwing didn’t work, the Terps handed the ball off and found great success on the ground, with rushing touchdowns from Anthony McFarland Jr. and Javon Leake in the first quarter.

Syracuse managed to score one touchdown doing what they do best. DeVito showed on one drive that he can perform well when he stands tall in the pocket and delivers quick strikes. With 3 passes for 71 yards, he managed to net Trishton Jackson his first of two touchdowns on the day.

‘Cuse crumbles

The second quarter highlighted Syracuse’s inability to execute on what few opportunities they had. Maryland’s first drive was put to a halt thanks to the Orange’s stellar defensive front. Their pressure forced two incomplete passes, which were followed by a great sack from redshirt sophomore Curtis Harper.

After the punt, failed blocks forced DeVito to leave the pocket and throw on the run. Maryland safety Jordan Mosley intercepted the wild pass attempt. Maryland responded with a 20-yard rushing touchdown through an enormous hole in the defense by McFarland.

Tempo is everything with Syracuse’s offensive style, and they showed flashes of that again with a 39-yard pass to Jackson and a 15-yard touchdown reception by Sean Riley. Even after that, the Orange failed to follow through on their successes as Andre Szmyt missed the first extra point of his career.

Syracuse let the clock run out, ending the half with a score of 42-13.

Defense dominates 3rd quarter

Maryland opened the second half with a 64-yard rushing touchdown by Javon Leake. Despite the early slip, the ‘Cuse defense that saved the Liberty game returned to strong play in the 3rd.

DeVito again connected with Jackson for a 52-yard touchdown reception. Unfortunately for the Orange, Maryland’s defense also showed up for the second half, and the touchdown was Syracuse’s last.

On Maryland’s answering drive, Andre Cisco intercepted his second pass of the year. The two teams held each other for another set of drives, giving Syracuse the ball.

Two more for the Terps

The Orange’s first drive of the final quarter ended on another failed fourth-down conversion with three yards to go. Maryland took the ball back and began working to run the clock out.

The Terrapins handed the ball off to Tayon Fleet-Davis for seven consecutive plays. On those plays, he ran for 58 yards and a touchdown. ‘Cuse failed another fourth-down conversion, allowing Maryland running back Jake Funk 92 yards and a touchdown on three plays.

The Orange substituted the second team for a final failed drive. With 63 points to Syracuse’s 20, Maryland took a knee.

Family focus moving forward

Maryland dominated today. With 650 total yards of offense, 296 yards passing to eight different receivers 2 or more catches and 354 rushing yards, the Terrapins mounted an attack that the Orange could neither anticipate nor match pace with.

The loss was nothing if not a culture shock. In his post-game press conference, Dino Babers conceded that the outcome was certainly a piece of “humble pie.” He suggested many of his team’s struggles were a result of poor game film for Maryland due to their 79-0 blowout against Howard.

Babers said his focus is on the team as a family, and how they can improve and prepare to face Clemson next in the Carrier Dome.

Currently No. 1 in the country, Clemson arrives in Syracuse on Sept. 14 for a highly anticipated match between the ACC foes.

Orange defense shines, offense struggles to find rhythm vs. Liberty

September 24, 2019

Story by: Maria Trivelpiece Photos by: Alyssa Lyons LYNCHBURG, Va. – Coach Dino Babers is known for his aggressive and successful offense, but in Syracuse football’s season opener it was the defense that sealed the Orange’s 24-0 victory over the Liberty Flames. Tommy DeVito and the offense started shakily with a three-and-out on the opening drive. […]

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Story by: Maria Trivelpiece

Photos by: Alyssa Lyons

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Coach Dino Babers is known for his aggressive and successful offense, but in Syracuse football’s season opener it was the defense that sealed the Orange’s 24-0 victory over the Liberty Flames.

Tommy DeVito and the offense started shakily with a three-and-out on the opening drive.

“They were playing a very unique defense,” Babers said. “These guys had not seen this on tape so we had to make game-time adjustments.”

Syracuse struggled to make any meaningful changes in the first quarter. The best they could do was squeeze a 25-yard-field goal out of kicker Andre Szmyt.

But defensive coordinator Brian Ward’s guys remained tough. Kendall Coleman picked up his first sack of the season at the start of the second quarter.

“The defense was great,” Babers said.

And great they were, holding Liberty to negative net rushing yards.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS

Towards the end of the second quarter, the offense started to make adjustments. Abdul Adams bulldozed his way into the end zone and Szmyt made the extra point to give the Orange a 10-0 lead. DeVito threw his second interception of the game right before halftime, but it caused no harm.

By the start of the third quarter, Syracuse showed the Flames signs of why they are nationally ranked. Andre Cisco made a key interception with about seven minutes left in the third quarter that led to a score from Jarveon Howard. Coleman also snagged another sack.

SOLID START

By the fourth quarter, the Orange had fully settled in. Senior running back Moe Neal ran for a 42-yard touchdown and Szmyt made the extra point.

“I’m happy we got the win,” Babers said. “We are 1-0 and we have a chance to be 2-0 next week.”

The Orange head to College Park next Saturday to take on the University of Maryland at 12 pm. The Terrapins won their matchup today against Howard University 79-0.

Jason Smorol Keeps Hitting it out of the Park as Syracuse Mets GM

September 24, 2019

Story and Photo by: Nicholas D’Alessandro  SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It is a Thursday night game in the dog-days of summer as the nearly .500 Syracuse Mets take on the Pawtucket Red Sox. The lines at NBT Bank Stadium are overflowing with fans buying dollar hot dogs and two dollar beers. This weekly promotional occurs every Thursday […]

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Story and Photo by: Nicholas D’Alessandro 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It is a Thursday night game in the dog-days of summer as the nearly .500 Syracuse Mets take on the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The lines at NBT Bank Stadium are overflowing with fans buying dollar hot dogs and two dollar beers. This weekly promotional occurs every Thursday since Mets General Manager Jason Smorol pioneered it during his days in Auburn, bringing it to Syracuse. Six years into his role, the North Syracuse native has already begun leaving a lasting impression within the organization.

 

Back in Syracuse

Donald F. Johnston, better known as “Donnie Baseball,” is the lively and dynamic press box manager for the Mets, ready to greet visitors with a handshake and the lineup for the day. He met Smorol in 2003 while he was attending SUNY Cortland and Smorol was an adjunct professor. Johnston assisted Smorol, with the Auburn’s Minor League Baseball Team, the Doubledays, and they’ve kept contact since then. Johnston credits Smorol as being an advertising and public relations savant, propelling the Syracuse baseball franchise back to profitability.

“There would not be baseball in Syracuse today, had it not been for Smorol,” said Johnston.

According to Smorol, the team was $1 million in the hole when he took over in 2013. He said the Mets were close to not being able to fulfill its debts which would have resulted in the team being taken over by Minor League Baseball.

Smorol credits many of his former staffers for keeping the team in Syracuse and members of the Chiefs First Group  who helped to finance the team out of debt.

Jason Smorol worked in baseball from 1993 to 2003.

 

A break from the sport 

At the end of the 2003 season, Smorol got married and had two children, but wanted more of a work-life balance. In the Fall of 2003, began working as an account manager at Hilti, a company that manufactures and sells tools for manual laborers and manufacturers in the construction industry.

He worked at Hilti for ten years until the former President of the Syracuse Chiefs, Bill Dutch, sent him a friend request.

Soon after, Smorol said he was on the phone with Dutch who offered him the job as the General Manager of the Chiefs.

He discussed the opportunity with his wife, and just like that, he was back in baseball.

 

Minor league mentality

Smorol said that they have turned the Mets into a profitable team by embracing the, “minor league mentality of fun.”

Since his start with the team, Smorol has been proudest of their engagement with the community and their charity work. With Smorol on board, the Mets have raised hundreds of thousands for Challenger Baseball, a baseball program for special needs children and adults.

As a minor league GM, Smorol isn’t involved with player development and transactions. Instead, he is in charge of several aspects of the game.

Though he’s in a demanding role with no set routine, Smorol has still been able to thrive.

Dave Smolnycki and Marty Nave are season ticket holders and have been attending Mets games in Syracuse since the early 1960s. They both agree that customer service is Smorol’s greatest asset.

“Smorol is a good public relations man who brought family fun back to the stadium,” said Smolnycki.

Smorol did this by adding more on-field entertainment, talking to fans about their ideas, and solving fan problems.

Additionally, Smorol has shown hospitality by checking in with players’ companions, assuring their comfortability.

Nave, a member of the Syracuse Chiefs Hall of Fame, echoed that Smorol is great at listening to fans. Smorol has brought groups on the field and gives back to season ticket holders as they receive precedence on bus trips and he threw an all-star game party for them.

Unbeknownst to Nave, Smorol knew that he had been attending games for years. When Smorol became GM, he asked Nave if he would he run a Mets fan club. Although Nave declined, Smorol continued to lean on him for advice.

“He has given a lot to preaching Syracuse baseball. He makes fans like me part of the experience and makes fans engage,” said Nave.

 

Working with Smorol

The Director of Business Operations and Merchandise, Katie Berger, works with Smorol daily to ensure that staffing needs are met for each game and to discuss actions they can take to make the stadium better.

“When someone is upset, people go to him and he is able to resonate and connect with them more than anyone else,” she said.

Tim Leonard, a broadcast assistant for the team, knows Smorol for his positive and energetic spirit.

“It doesn’t matter if it is game seven of a seven game homestand or game one, he is just as excited and passionate,” said Leonard.

He also noted that Smorol goes around the stadium greeting every employee and interacting with fans during the games.

“The real work is customer service and catering to your fans first,” said Smorol.

Matt Park has been a broadcaster for Syracuse Athletics since 2004, but has never worked directly with Smorol.

“He has been a great smile on the franchise,” Park said.  “He has lifted the brand of the team and has made a real effort to talk to fans, be accessible, and make it fun.”

He also said that Smorol has made major gains in engaging the business community.

 

Changing the Game

From local sponsors such as Burdick Mitsubishi and Upstate Orthopedics, to Bud Light and Toyota, the billboards on the outfield walls are full.

“Other GMs aren’t necessarily as forward [about] where they are personally and individually involved. He has found something effective that works,” Park said.

Jason Smorol wants to be here for the long haul.

He said that the Mets are the second-largest attended sporting event in the city of Syracuse by total number of people and he plans on beating out Syracuse University Basketball to make it the first. Contingent on Syracuse Football’s attendance remaining the same, they’ll have to average just over 2,000 more fans per home game in 2019 to beat them out.

Tony DeFrancesco, the manager of the team, said something about Smorol that has remained a common theme,

“I’ve been around him every day for four months and he makes it very enjoyable to be here.”

Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Preview

November 22, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Syracuse and Pittsburgh have played each other 68 times on the gridiron. This Saturday, for the first time ever, the game will be played with both teams as members of the ACC. “I’m extremely humbled to be a part of it as a head coach now,” said Syracuse Head Coach Scott […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Syracuse and Pittsburgh have played each other 68 times on the gridiron. This Saturday, for the first time ever, the game will be played with both teams as members of the ACC.

“I’m extremely humbled to be a part of it as a head coach now,” said Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer at his Thursday press conference. “Growing up as a kid, I watched those games…now we’re in the ACC, that’s the only change.”

Shafer’s team is 5-5 on the year, with two chances left at earning a bowl bid. The same is true for the 5-5 Pitt Panthers.

Historically, these two teams are about as even as two teams can be. Pitt leads the overall series 34-31-3, and has won seven of the last eight. Yet when the two teams met last year, Syracuse won a close one 14-13. They’re so close that throughout the history of this rivalry, Syracuse averages 19.6 points per game against Pitt, and Pitt averages 19.5 against the Orange.

Both teams are coming off tough losses, but in different fashion. Syracuse ran into the ACC’s version of a superpower last week in Florida State, and the Seminoles had their way with the Orange. Pitt played a close game against North Carolina, but even after a furious rally in the fourth quarter, the Panthers comeback attempt fell just short.

Familiar Opponents

This game features a ton of guys who know each other very well from the past. The two teams feature 14 players who played together in high school. Syracuse RB/WR Ashton Broyld (Sophomore/Rochester, NY) played with four Pitt players at Milford Academy in New Berlin, NY.

“They talk a lot of trash, you can see it on film, helmet moving, looking at the guy with their body language,” Broyld said. “I don’t keep in touch with any of those guys.”

Complete list:

Milford Academy (New Berlin, NY) – Syracuse: RB/WR Ashton Broyld, LB Dyshawn Davis, WR Jeremiah Kobena; Pitt: FB Mark Giubilato, DL Khaynin Mosley-Smith, DB Jevonte Pitts, LB Todd Thomas

Liberty High School (Bethlehem, PA) – Syracuse: WR Jarrod West; Pitt: WR Devin Street, LB Anthony Gonzalez

The Haverford School (Haverford, PA) – Syracuse: CB Joe Nassib; Pitt: LB Matt Galambos

Blue Mountain High School (Schuylkill Haven, PA) – Syracuse: C Jason Emerich; Pitt: K Brad Lukasak

Key Match-ups

Pitt Wide Receivers vs. Syracuse Defensive Backs

The Panthers have two of the best wide receivers in the ACC in Devin Street (Senior/Bethlehem, PA) and Tyler Boyd (Freshman/Clairton, PA). Street and Boyd are the only pair of teammates to rank in the ACC’s top seven in both receptions and receiving yards per game.

“Street’s had a real good run at Pitt, but Tyler Boyd is only a handful of catches…under what Larry Fitzgerald [had] in his freshman year,” Shafer said. “Larry Fitzgerald, come on, so this kid is really good.”

Syracuse is a little banged up in the secondary. After losing CB Keon Lyn (Senior/Miramar, Fla.) for the season to a lower body injury against Clemson, the Orange lost CB Julian Whigham (Sophomore/West Palm Beach, Fla.) to a long contusion against Florida State.

Look for Wayne Morgan (Sophomore, Brooklyn, NY) to see a lot of time in Whigham’s stead, and Joe Nassib (Senior/Newton Square, PA) could see some action as well.

Aaron Donald vs. Syracuse Offensive Line 

Donald (Senior/Pittsburgh, PA) has been a one-man wrecking crew on the Pitt defensive line. He’s a finalist for the Nagurski Award (awarded to the top defensive player in college football), as well as the Rotary Award (awarded to the nation’s top offensive/defensive lineman). He has 22.5 tackles for loss to go along with ten sacks so far this year in ten games.

Syracuse’s offensive line is one of the few units on the team that has remained healthy all year. The Orange has started the same offensive line for every game this season. Keeping Donald out of the face of quarterback Terrel Hunt (Sophomore/Rosedale, NY) is key for the Orange to gain any sort of yardage with all of their offensive injuries.

Injuries

Syracuse

Adrian Fleming (lower body) – out for year

Ross Krautman (lower body) – out for year

Keon Lyn (lower body) – out for year

Tyler Marona (upper body) – out for year

John Raymon (lower body) – out for year

Prince Tyson Gulley (lower body) – out for game

Brisly Estime (upper body) – out for game

Isaiah Johnson (upper body) – out for game

Ben Lewis (upper body) – out for game

Jarrod West (upper body) – out for game

Julian Whigham (upper body) – out for game

Jason Emerich (lower body) – doubtful

 

Pittsburgh

No formal injury report released to media.

Syracuse Sets Records, Stays Undefeated Against Maryland Eastern Shore

November 21, 2013

(Syracuse) – Maryland Eastern Shore led the game 1-0 one minute into the first half.  Then, the rest of the game happened. The Syracuse women’s basketball team pummeled the Lady Hawks in record-setting fashion Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome, 113-42, to move to 4-0 on the season. The win was never in doubt as […]

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(Syracuse) – Maryland Eastern Shore led the game 1-0 one minute into the first half.  Then, the rest of the game happened.

The Syracuse women’s basketball team pummeled the Lady Hawks in record-setting fashion Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome, 113-42, to move to 4-0 on the season.

The win was never in doubt as the Orange set a program record for most points in a game and most points in a half after leading 64-15 at the end of the first.  It was also the widest margin of victory in team history.

“I had no idea what the record was,” said head coach Quentin Hillsman after the game.  “It was just one of those things where we got it clicking. We played phenomenal.”

The Lady Hawks were unable to handle the swarming Orange full court and half court zone pressure. Syracuse forced 31 turnovers and produced easy baskets in transition.

“We got going into situations where we made them cross half court and try to make a play,” said Hillsman.  “I think that our length and our athleticism really changed the game with our pressure.”

Sophomore guard Brianna Butler had struggled coming into this game, shooting only 28 percent from the field on the season. She served up a big performance, scoring 20 of her career-high 23 points in the first half.  Butler added another personal-best for 3-point field goals made by draining 7 of 11 from deep.

“I just hit the open shot. I just focused on getting my feet set and getting in rhythm,” said Butler.  “They were just falling.”

Butler’s fellow sophomore guard Brittney Sykes continued her hot start to the year with an impressive overall line of 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.  She recognized the importance of the sophomore duo playing well.

“Coach talked to us and told us that we had to contribute big this season as sophomores and take a leadership role,” Sykes said.  “To combine for 42 (points) is a great feeling to know that our teammates trust us with the ball.”

Senior guard La’Shay Taft finished with 12 points off the bench and hit a three from the right wing in the second half to break the previous team record of 103 points.  That was set by the 1978 Orange women against William Smith.

“I guess I’ll be known for that until somebody snaps the record,” said Taft with a smile.  “It’s a good thing.  It’s a plus.”

Hillsman said his team played two complete halves and continued to play hard and clean despite having a large lead.

“I thought overall it was one of those nights where we just got it rolling, got it clicking and we played well,” said Hillsman.

Syracuse will close out its four-game homestand against Maine on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.  It will be the last home game for the Orange women until Dec. 16.

Coach Quentin Hillsman postgame:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7viJXBahcRA

La’Shay Taft, Brittney Sykes, Brianna Butler Postgame:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcAi4S7Mf6g

SU Sets Records; Tramples UMES

November 21, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Maryland Eastern Shore led the game 1-0 one minute into the first half.  Then, the rest of the game happened. The Syracuse women’s basketball team pummeled the Lady Hawks in record-setting fashion Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome, 113-42, to move to 4-0 on the season. The win was never in […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Maryland Eastern Shore led the game 1-0 one minute into the first half.  Then, the rest of the game happened.

The Syracuse women’s basketball team pummeled the Lady Hawks in record-setting fashion Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome, 113-42, to move to 4-0 on the season.

The win was never in doubt as the Orange set a program record for most points in a game and most points in a half after leading 64-15 at the end of the first.  It was also the widest margin of victory in team history.

“I had no idea what the record was,” said head coach Quentin Hillsman after the game.  “It was just one of those things where we got it clicking. We played phenomenal.”

The Lady Hawks were unable to handle the swarming Orange full court and half court zone pressure. Syracuse forced 31 turnovers and produced easy baskets in transition.

“We got going into situations where we made them cross half court and try to make a play,” said Hillsman.  “I think that our length and our athleticism really changed the game with our pressure.”

Sophomore guard Brianna Butler had struggled coming into this game, shooting only 28 percent from the field on the season. She served up a big performance, scoring 20 of her career-high 23 points in the first half.  Butler added another personal-best for 3-point field goals made by draining 7 of 11 from deep.

“I just hit the open shot. I just focused on getting my feet set and getting in rhythm,” said Butler.  “They were just falling.”

Butler’s fellow sophomore guard Brittney Sykes continued her hot start to the year with an impressive overall line of 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.  She recognized the importance of the sophomore duo playing well.

“Coach talked to us and told us that we had to contribute big this season as sophomores and take a leadership role,” Sykes said.  “To combine for 42 (points) is a great feeling to know that our teammates trust us with the ball.”

Senior guard La’Shay Taft finished with 12 points off the bench and hit a three from the right wing in the second half to break the previous team record of 103 points.  That was set by the 1978 Orange women against William Smith.

“I guess I’ll be known for that until somebody snaps the record,” said Taft with a smile.  “It’s a good thing.  It’s a plus.”

Hillsman said his team played two complete halves and continued to play hard and clean despite having a large lead.

“I thought overall it was one of those nights where we just got it rolling, got it clicking and we played well,” said Hillsman.

Syracuse will close out its four-game homestand against Maine on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.  It will be the last home game for the Orange women until Dec. 16.

Video

Coach Quentin Hillsman postgame: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7viJXBahcRA

La’Shay Taft, Brittney Sykes, Brianna Butler Postgame: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcAi4S7Mf6g

Crew Wraps Outdoor Training

November 19, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Syracuse University’s men’s rowing team is wrapping up outdoor practices for the fall.  With the weather getting progressively colder and the water bound to get icy, the team will move indoors and focus primarily on fitness. The fall racing swing for the team included a Top 10 finish for the varsity eight at the […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Syracuse University’s men’s rowing team is wrapping up outdoor practices for the fall.  With the weather getting progressively colder and the water bound to get icy, the team will move indoors and focus primarily on fitness.

The fall racing swing for the team included a Top 10 finish for the varsity eight at the Princeton Chase, coming in ninth out of 60 collegiate teams. But the Orange finished a disappointing 24th out of 32 crews at the Head of the Charles that included both collegiate and post-collegiate club rowers.

The goal going through the winter and into the spring season is to peak toward the end of the spring for the Eastern Sprints and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Regatta which serves as the national championships for Division I men’s crew.

“We understand that we’re not really race ready the first race of the season,” said Captain Kyle Rogers, a graduate student in his fourth year rowing for SU. “Usually our stroke rating for the race is a little lower earlier in the season and we try and build up and add and kind of use what we learned in the first race and build on the next one. Hopefully by the final race of the season, we’ve peaked.”

“Our coach (Dave Reischman) would say our goal is to row hard every day,” said Jake Martens, a senior and the other captain “To put in as much work as we possibly can to maximize the return on our investment and I would say our ultimate purpose behind doing that is to get back to the Grand Final at Sprints and hopefully top 10 in the country at the IRA.”

Syracuse crews have won five IRA championships in the varsity eight-oared shell competition over the years but the most recent came in 1978. The crew had a disappointing third level finish at the IRA last spring after making the Grand Final in two of the three years before.

Martens says the athletes definitely feel the pressure.

“We’re all very aware of the past successes of the university,” he said. “And we’re also aware of the fact that over the last 30 years or so it hasn’t performed to the standards of its history.”

The first spring race is a scrimmage at Princeton in March.

Orange Escapes Terriers’ Grip

November 19, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — The St. Francis Terriers would simply not lie down on Monday night, but it was the Syracuse Orange who wound up standing at the end winning by a final score of 56-50. “It’s a very difficult game, “SU coach Jim Boeheim said afterward. I think this will help us going forward.” […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  The St. Francis Terriers would simply not lie down on Monday night, but it was the Syracuse Orange who wound up standing at the end winning by a final score of 56-50.

“It’s a very difficult game, “SU coach Jim Boeheim said afterward. I think this will help us going forward.”

DaJuan Coleman led the charge early on for the Orange, scoring 10 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first 12 minutes of play. With just over two minutes to play in the first half, Trevor Cooney hit a three-point jumper from the corner and was fouled, giving Syracuse a six point lead after completing the four point play. However, the Orange never led by more than eight in the first half, and the Terriers went into the break only trailing 30-26.

St. Francis (Brooklyn) came out of the break hot, taking the lead 33-32 on a three pointer from Anthony White with just over 17 minutes left. Syracuse tied the game four times after that but the Orange would not hold the lead again until there was less than a minute left.

With only one minute and thirty seconds remaining, C.J. Fair missed a contested layup, but Jerami Grant got the rebound and the put back to tie the game at 50. On the next possession, Grant got a steal and drove the ball coast to coast, dishing it to Michael Gbinije for the go-ahead layup.

St. Francis forced up desperate shots on its next two offensive tries, leading to a must foul situation where a pair of free throws from Grant and another pair from Fair sealed the win for the Orange. Syracuse held St. Francis scoreless in the final four minutes of the game.

“We’ve certainly got a lot of work to do and that’s not a surprise,” Boeheim said.

Each team had three players finish in double digits as Coleman led the Orange with 14 points while Grant had 13 and Cooney 12. C.J Fair, who’d been averaging over 20 points a game was held to seven on two for 13 shooting. Jalen Cannon of St. Francis led all scorers with 16 points, as Wayne Martin finished with 13 and Anthony White with 10.

The Terriers fall to 2-2 on the season, and the Orange improves to 4-0 as the team prepares to travel to Hawaii to finish out the bulk of the Maui Invitational. Monday’s game was billed as the opener for the Maui tournament although had St. Francis pulled off the upset Syracuse would still have advanced.

“Any team is beatable in the NCAA, we almost lost to St. Francis, so definitely going into this [Maui Invitational] we have to build our confidence up and get ready to play next time,” Jerami Grant said.

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HUl0yC7Igo

Tenacious Terriers Come Up Short

November 19, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — The scrappy squad from Brooklyn came into the Dome Monday night and was unfazed by the “Loud House” or the ninth-ranked Orange basketball team. The Terriers controlled the tempo early and often with a pressuring man defense and aggressive inside play in the paint. Syracuse was lucky to be up by […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  The scrappy squad from Brooklyn came into the Dome Monday night and was unfazed by the “Loud House” or the ninth-ranked Orange basketball team. The Terriers controlled the tempo early and often with a pressuring man defense and aggressive inside play in the paint. Syracuse was lucky to be up by four at halftime, 30-26. St. Francis, which plays in the North Eastern Conference, made headlines to start the season, shocking the University of Miami on the road, 66-62 in overtime.

The Terrier defense began to lock down and slow the pace even more in the second half. Orange players were forcing bad shots and committing untimely turnovers to the dismay of the home crowd. Senior guard Ben Mockford hit a three 3-pointers to silence the crowd during the last 20 minutes.

“We needed to keep playing our style of basketball,” Mockford said. “Getting in the passing lanes, aggressive defense, it was working really.”

With four minutes remaining, the small school from Brooklyn took a four-point lead. But the lead slipped away as the Terriers began to turn the ball over. The Orange went on a 10-0 run to finish and win going away 56-50, in what became an unexpectedly entertaining matchup.

Looking dejected after the loss, Mockford, who hails from Shoreham, England, touched on how close his team had been to another upset in this early season.

“A few plays here and there down the stretch and we could have won that ball game,” he said. “It’s tough to shoot in that zone [defense], you know. It’s not your typical zone where people think you can shoot threes. The wings are 6’8”. It’s tough.”

Wayne Martin, the freshman forward who attended South Shore High in Brooklyn was dominant inside for the Terriers. He outplayed all of the Orange big men, finishing with 13 points on five for eight shooting, with five rebounds and two blocks.

Head Coach Glenn Braica expressed admiration for his young team and the strategy coming in.

“Our game plan was to get the ball inside, then go from there,” Braica said. “Whether it was our bigs going to the basket, or playing inside out.”

Mockford, the team captain with plenty of tattoos and attitude recognized the opportunity his team had. Playing on national television, in a hostile environment and summed things up eloquently.

“Syracuse are a great team, a great program. We came into this game wanting to win. It came down to a few plays here and there, and it’s just the way it fell.”

Photos
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Syracuse Women Dominate Dartmouth in Dome Opener, 88-47

November 15, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (2-0) left the Dartmouth Big Green (1-2) feeling a bit blue Thursday night. Sophomore Brittney Sykes led the way with a career-high 26 points as SU cruised past Dartmouth 88-47 in the Carrier Dome opener. The Orange took an lead early in the game off […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (2-0) left the Dartmouth Big Green (1-2) feeling a bit blue Thursday night. Sophomore Brittney Sykes led the way with a career-high 26 points as SU cruised past Dartmouth 88-47 in the Carrier Dome opener.

The Orange took an lead early in the game off a three-pointer from Taylor Ford as part of a 9-0 run that took place in the first five minutes of the game.

Syracuse then broke out the full court press, creating turnovers on consecutive Dartmouth possessions and finishing with easy baskets in transition.

At halftime, Taylor Ford was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, notching 12 points. Sykes led all scorers with 18.

Despite the sharp shooting early, it seemed as though both teams forgot their offense in the locker rooms. Syracuse and Dartmouth went a combined 2-for-23 from three point range in the second half. The Big Green was initially able to keep pace with the Orange, but it was only a matter of time before Syracuse defensive pressure once again caused havoc.

The Orange offense got a boost from the defense, as a steal and dish to Sykes regained momentum. Sykes collected her 26 points in only 28 minutes of action.

With five minutes remaining in the game, Coach Quentin Hillsman had taken out all his starters. That’s when the Orange bench stepped up. Senior Phylesha Bullard had a stellar performance, scoring 9 straight points to end the game.

Ford went 4-for-5 on three-pointers for the night, missing her last and only attempt in the second half.

Shakeya Leary contributed a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, half of which were offensive boards.

Freshman Isabella Slim struggled from the field but was an impressive 6-for-8 from the free throw line, totaling 10 points for the game.

Defense was the driving force in this game. Syracuse’s full-court press forced 22 turnovers and had 13 steals.

“I think our defense was great. I thought we got a lot of traps,” said Brianna Butler, who finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. “We got a lot of back court 10-second calls. So I think that our defense helped definitely into transition for Brittney to get out and everyone to run the floor.”

“If we’re going to play fast, going to play up and down the court, we have to play numbers,” Hillsman said. “We gotta play our bench players, we gotta play our subs. They gotta get in the game and be productive. We can go 9 or 10 deep easy. Every night. And that’s what we’re really getting towards.”

Next Game

Up next, the Orange women will take on the Cornell Big Red in the Dome. Tip off is set for Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Video

Post game from Coach Q, Shekaya Leary, Brittney Sykes, and Brianna Butler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zReUHp9Ma-Q

SU’s Strong Start Pushes The Orange Past Fordham, 89-74

November 13, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Unlike their first half performance in last Friday’s game against Cornell, the Syracuse men’s basketball team had an explosive start in the first half against Fordham Tuesday night. The Orange led 46-21 at the half and went on to win it 89-74. Just under five minutes into the game, the Orange […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Unlike their first half performance in last Friday’s game against Cornell, the Syracuse men’s basketball team had an explosive start in the first half against Fordham Tuesday night. The Orange led 46-21 at the half and went on to win it 89-74.

Just under five minutes into the game, the Orange pulled out a 10 point lead against the Rams. Syracuse shot 53 percent in the first half and 70 percent from the free throw line. The Orange’s defense matched its strong offensive start in the first half with Syracuse holding Fordham to only six points in the paint and seven offensive rebounds.

“First half we were pretty good, ” head coach Jim Boeheim said. ” We did a pretty good job defensively. I think Fordham is a pretty good team offensively and we held them to 21 points and they made a couple of tough shots in that group.”

But the second half did not go as smoothly for the Orange. Entering the second half with a 25 point lead, Syracuse relaxed on defense letting Fordham cut the lead to 12 points. The Orange allowed Fordham’s guard Branden Frazier to score 19 of his 33 total points in the second half.

“I think we felt we had control of the game, ” said Boeheim. ” We lost our defensive edge and they took advantage of it. It’s something we obviously have to work on.”

A bit of the Orange’s defensive woes resulted from having to adjust to the new NCAA rule changes involving enforcement of hand-checking that went in affect this season. This translates to more foul shots and potential foul trouble for teams. In tonight’s game, Syracuse shot 42 free throws and Fordham shot 30 combining for a total of 55 fouls called in the game. Syracuse had three players, Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney, and Michael Gbinije with four fouls. Fordham’s Ryan Rhoomes, Bryan Smith, and Travion Leonard all fouled out of the game.

“They’re going to call fouls,” Boeheim said. “You’ve got to be able to play without fouling. When we got into foul trouble we stopped guarding and you can not do that. They are going to call fouls. It’s going to be that way. Every game I watched today and last night, they are calling these fouls so we have to adjust to it.”

“I can see why they changed it but I think it kind of takes away from the game, ” said forward C.J. Fair. “It is just now a free throw contest. It slowed the game down and kind of got us out of sync on offense. It’s something we got to adjust to though.”

Fair led the Orange with 26 points, including 7 of 7 from the line. Syracuse had three other players score double digit points. Guard Tyler Ennis and forward Jerami Grant both chipped in 16 points. Center DaJuan Coleman added 10.

Next Game

The Orange hosts Colgate University Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Video

Watch Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s postgame news conference here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CRcu0WMz2I

Orange Digs Out of First Half Hole; Tops Big Red 82-60

November 9, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Down big in the first half at the Carrier Dome Friday night, Syracuse ratcheted up its defense in the second half to pull away from Cornell for an 82-60 win. On the offensive end, Trevor Cooney had a breakout performance in SU’s first regular season game, putting up 27 points, going […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Down big in the first half at the Carrier Dome Friday night, Syracuse ratcheted up its defense in the second half to pull away from Cornell for an 82-60 win. On the offensive end, Trevor Cooney had a breakout performance in SU’s first regular season game, putting up 27 points, going 7 for 8 from beyond the arc. C.J Fair added 19 and Rakeem Christmas had a dozen.

The Orange scored first in the game, with Fair putting in a layup on the opening possession. That lead was short lived, however, as Cornell went on a 12 point run, led by Nolan Cressler who had 20 points in the first half, scoring from all over the floor. Cornell eventually led by as many as 14. Two Cooney threes just before halftime cut the Big Red lead to 38-32 at the break.

In the locker room Boeheim called for improvement and the players got the message. Cooney said they knew that they had dug themselves into a hole and needed to find their way out.

Syracuse emerged after the break with a vengeance. The Orange applied full-court pressure in the second half and went on a 10-2 run that returned them the lead for the first time since being up by a point in the middle of the first half.

“We just made some adjustments defensively that just made a big difference,” Boeheim said. “We took away the high-post pass and we got to the shooters better. I just thought our movement was a little better. When you don’t move on defense, it doesn’t matter what defense you play.”

One thing the Orange did is find Cressler, who scored only three in the second half. What the Big Red could not do is stop Cooney. He sank five more three-pointers in the second half as Su outscored Cornell 50-22. He also had four steals in the game.

As the Orange got into the lead, the Dome crowd got into the game. The 24,788 in attendance started to chant Cooney’s name and get fired up by slams from Cooney, Fair and Christmas.

“A crowd for our first game was awesome,” Cooney said.”It felt good to have them behind you and the team,”

After the game, Boeheim talked about his expectations for the season.

“My realistic expectation is that we’re going to get better. We’re going to back and try to play better next week. And you know, go game by game and see if we can become what everyone’s predicting that we could become. We’re far from it.”

In a game where Cornell held the lead for almost the entirety of the first half, Boeheim had to give props to the Big Red.

“They made seven three’s against us in the first half,” he said “Not many teams do that.”

The Orange plays Fordham next, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.

Video

Coach Boeheim news conference here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=646t5mcOWNk#t=74

C.J. Fair postgame here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mOHg6DVO9w

SU Volleyball Sweeps Notre Dame

November 7, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Stadium seating is pulled taut when the Syracuse University women’s volleyball team hosts a match in the Carrier Dome.  It’s not hard to get a good seat. Game attendance for the season has thus far averaged 299.  Against ACC foe Notre Dame on Wednesday night, the count was 215. Not many people […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Stadium seating is pulled taut when the Syracuse University women’s volleyball team hosts a match in the Carrier Dome.  It’s not hard to get a good seat. Game attendance for the season has thus far averaged 299.  Against ACC foe Notre Dame on Wednesday night, the count was 215.

Not many people have witnessed the team’s growth as it transitions into a new conference  A win in straight sets over Notre Dame is a testament to that growth, albeit against a team that is making the same transition from the Big East to the ACC.

When the Orange played the Fighting Irish, then a Big East foe in 2011, 585 people showed up. That remains the attendance record for women’s volleyball at SU.

The most raucous fans were the members of the Sour Sitrus Society, the energetic musical pep squad blasting out an assortment of fight songs and Top 40 hits.

Members of the men’s soccer team cheered on players by name. A few locals peppered the mostly empty seats, offering golf claps for digs while student fans hollered and hooted for kills. Loudest of all was the wind outside, pounding the Teflon-coated roof of the Carrier Dome.

This was the third time the Orange women swept an ACC opponent, and the sixth sweep overall this season. The Orange opened the 2013 season being swept by Louisville and Penn State in August.

Much blame for the slow start of the season can be directly applied to the team’s mental state, and the players’ tendency to lose focus as points carry on and emotions run high. As they struggled to establish an identity, the fundamentals of the game suffered—especially the serve receive and blocking. And despite vastly improved defensive awareness and blocking in the first set, those problems were still evident against the Irish.

The strong victory in the first set was followed by a lapse in mental awareness during the second, which saw the Orange have to clamber out of a 15-22 hole in a come-from-behind 25-23 victory. The Orange went on a 9-point streak before Notre Dame was able to answer.

“We bounced back,” head coach Leonid Yelin said. “It was all about our focus. Getting our focus back. It is a game of momentum, taking a little mental break. That’s what changed.”

Like any team in transition, women’s volleyball has struggled. The players have allowed too many mental errors, and have let emotions get in the way of smart play and instinct. The win over Notre Dame was similar to a 3-0 win over Maryland Oct 3. in College Park, which saw the Orange come from behind to claim a set.

“We’ve experienced that a lot,” said junior outside hitter Nicolette Serratore, who had 12 kills and a .346 attack percentage against the Fighting Irish. “Well—we’re staying confident out there.”

“They’ve started learning how to adjust, how to refuse to lose,” Yelin said. “They are more consistent. They are doing what we asked them to do, and preparing better. They are learning how to stay longer in the game.”

In 25 matches so far, Syracuse now sits at 12-13 overall and above .500 in conference play at 7-6. The Orange is enjoying a two-win streak after splitting its matches last week with a loss to nationally-ranked No. 18 Duke and a win in four sets over Wake Forest.

The volleyball team mirrors the football team in a way, bouncing back and forth between solid wins and serious losses, hanging in overall record purgatory while striving to maintain an even record in conference play. Injuries to players have caused some strife—Valeriya Shaipova, a redshirt freshman outside hitter who saw plenty of playing time early in the season, fell in practice and tore her ACL. And an inability to understand and adapt to their opponents mid-game has given the volleyball team more losses than their skill set should allow.

“When you play, you have to take every game for what it is,” said Melina Violas, the junior libero (defensive specialist). Coming off of an 18-dig performance against Duke, Violas maintained her momentum, staying sharp on defense.

“Early on we had struggles. But It feels good knowing that having high expectations for the rest of the season,” Violas said. “We’ve come together and found ourselves as a team—our defense, our blocking, our serving, serve-receive.” She smiled. “It took us awhile, but better late than never.”

The match against Notre Dame carried deeper implications. There’s a long mostly one-sided rivalry between the two teams, which first met in 1981. The Orange won that match. A 1990 rematch saw Notre Dame emerge victorious. The Fighting Irish then won 16 times against the Orange until Syracuse defeated Notre Dame in five sets in 2011. Notre Dame swept the Orange in South Bend last year.

This year’s SU sweep was the final match for the team’s four-game “Home to the Dome” series. Most home games are played in the Women’s Building.

“To win our last appearance in the Dome for the season is great,” Serratore said. “[Playing against Notre Dame]—the first couple of times the mindset affected us. But we were moved that they gave us this opportunity to play in the Dome. This feels like our second home. It’s great to be part of history.”

“I’ve been a Syracuse fan my entire life,” added Violas, who is from Sherman Oaks, California. “Every time I’m here it’s great—I remember coming to the games with my grandpa (who lived in Central New York) when I was a little kid—it’s just so memorable.”

Not many people are sharing the memories this team is making in the Dome.

Perhaps a pep talk from Yelin could sway the community (including the student body) to turn out in better numbers for the volleyball matches. His talks seem to work on the players, given the momentum swing in the second set, when the Orange went from 15-22 to win the set 25-23. But when asked exactly what he said to take back the set, Yelin shrugged, raised an eyebrow, and smiled.

“Do you really want to know?”

Next Game

Next the Orange women travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. to face Boston College Sunday, Nov. 10, renewing a longtime rivalry on hiatus since 2005. The team will attempt to go 8-6 in conference play and reach .500 overall.

Boeheim Says Team is “Ready to Go” after Win Over Ryerson

November 6, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — C.J. Fair scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, DaJuan Coleman recorded a  double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and the Syracuse men’s basketball team dispatched Ryerson University 81-46 in an exhibition win on Tuesday in front of an announced crowd of 6,674 at the Carrier Dome. The Rams scored the […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  C.J. Fair scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, DaJuan Coleman recorded a  double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and the Syracuse men’s basketball team dispatched Ryerson University 81-46 in an exhibition win on Tuesday in front of an announced crowd of 6,674 at the Carrier Dome.

The Rams scored the first basket to start the second half cutting the Orange lead to 14 points and prompting Orange head coach Jim Boeheim to a call a timeout. But that would be the closest Ryerson would get. A three from Trevor Cooney and a layup by freshman guard Tyler Ennis helped spark a 16-0 run for the Orange to secure the victory.

The Orange defense was also in full effect Tuesday, forcing 24 turnovers, blocking eight shots, and outrebounding the Rams 49 to 37.

“I thought they made us work on defense,” Boeheim said. “They did a lot of screening, things we’re going to see. I thought it was a good exercise for us.”

Despite the margin of victory, the Orange shot only 23 pecent on three-pointers.

“That’s going to happen,” said Boeheim, who is entering his 38th season as head coach of the Orange. “You’re going to have games where that happens where you get 22 good looks and you make five. Some games you’re going to make nine or 10 but we still have to get better on the boards.”

While the Orange struggled from beyond the arc, Boeheim was pleased with his starting frontcourt’s performance from Coleman and Rakeem Christmas, who chipped in 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“I think DaJuan and him are doing things better in spurts,” Boeheim said. “I thought DaJaun was much better rebounding the ball tonight. I thought he was much more physical going up to get it. I think that part of it was really good.”

“When they get a lot of touches, just like anybody, you get into a rhythm and you get more

confidence,” echoed senior forward C.J. Fair. “DaJuan is finishing well and if he misses he’s going to get the offensive rebound. And Rakeem, he’s always had the ability it’s just confidence and coach has confidence in him.”

Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis added seven points, five assists, and a game-high four steals. The Brampton, Ontario native has played five of his first six games for SU against Canadian colleges.

“He’s important for our team,” Boeheim said. “I told him at halftime that he’s got to be a little bit more aggressive offensively and when you tell him something he does it.”

Aaron Best and Adika Peter-McNeilly both paced Ryerson with 11 points each.

During his post-game news conference, Boeheim discussed criticism circulating around the graduation rates of his basketball program.

“I think if you have 12 players over a four year period and they play for four years and only five graduate, I think that’s an institutional problem,” Boeheim said. “You haven’t done a good job with those guys. However, in our case it’s not what happened.

“We had six guys stay out of the 12; five graduated. The other six, a couple for the NBA, a couple weren’t playing enough and transferred. One guy was hurt and just didn’t play anymore.”

“So if somebody could explain to me how if six guys choose to leave for whatever reason and I think some of them were good reasons in that 12 person group. So if somebody can tell me how we’re supposed to graduate a guy who leaves I would love for them to come and tell me that. Explain how we can do that.”

The Orange will open the 2013-14 season against Cornell on Friday in the Carrier Dome.

“There’s a lot of things at this stage…a lot of positives and you know we’re going into Friday night and you know I think everybody’s anxious to start the season,” Boeheim said. “We’ve had pretty good preparation to this point and I think we’ll be ready to go.”

Video

Postgame wrap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xcFS5IsxWI&feature=youtu.be

Boeheim press conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC40MHa3_LE

 

Orange Gets Fourth Win in Shutout of Wake

November 3, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Remember back in August when most preseason power rankings had the Syracuse Orange placed in the cellar of the ACC? Well, those pundits may soon be eating their own words. Terrel Hunt scored on a 6-yard run to break up a scoreless tie in the third quarter, freshman defensive end Isaiah Johnson set […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Remember back in August when most preseason power rankings had the Syracuse Orange placed in the cellar of the ACC? Well, those pundits may soon be eating their own words.

Terrel Hunt scored on a 6-yard run to break up a scoreless tie in the third quarter, freshman defensive end Isaiah Johnson set up up another score intercepting a pass moments later, and the Orange (4-4, 2-2) defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-5, 2-5), 13-0 on Saturday, in front of and announced crowd of 38,550 at the Carrier Dome.

Coming off of a bye week, Head Coach Scott Shafer said he was impressed with his team’s resilency after being steamrolled 56-0 on the road against Georgia Tech in its last game.

“I was really proud of that fact that our kids stuck their chests out and went to work after that difficult loss,” Shafer said. There’s been no separation with these kids. They’ve become tighter when we’ve had tough situations and I love them for it.”

Syracuse’s inability to score persisted against Wake Forest as both teams combined for 14 punts in the lackluster first half. The Orange found themselves in a tough situation offensively producing only 121 yards of total offense.

However, the Orange registered 176 total yards in the third quarter, beginning with a 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 6-yard Terrel Hunt keeper for a touchdown.

“We were just more hungry,” Hunt said. “We knew what we had to do. It was a tough one in that first half but we got everything corrected and finished out good in the second half.”

Less than three minutes later, a tipped interception by Johnson gave Syracuse prime field position at the 25-yard line.

On the next play, offensive coordinator George McDonald decided to incorporate some trickery into the gameplan. Wide receiver Jarrod West delivered a 25-yard pass to Brisly Estime to give the Orange a 13-0 lead.

“Well it’s actually pretty funny because all week long we tried three different kids on that play and its was interception, interception, duck…I mean it was horrible,” Shafer said. “I told George (McDonald) it was out.

“By the way he looked they were going to keep working on it and they got it right by game time. That’s what counts. “It was a heck of a call by George.”

West couldn’t believe how easy the play unfolded.

“He was wide open,” said West, the sophomore wide receiver from Bethlehem, Pa. “I could have kicked it too him.”

The Orange have been trying to get Estime more involved in the offense lately, particularly with screen plays. Saturday afternoon he led the team with nine receptions for 62 yards.

“They put me on screen plays because they know I can make the first person miss,” he said. “I fit in the offense.”

While it took more than thirty minutes for the Orange offense to get into a groove, the defense stymied the Demon Deacons from start to finish.

“When you have a lack of execution on the offensive side of the ball you probably have a pretty darn good execution on the other side,” Shafer said.

“We’re a team that’s continuing to try to grow on that offensive side of the ball and when you grow, your brothers on the other side got to do a good job of picking up the slack,” Shafer said. “I thought our defense did that today.”

Shafer also praised his coaching staff, especially defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough.

“I’m extremely proud of Chuck Bullough and the defensive staff for the job they did coming off a difficult loss a couple weeks ago when we were all embarrassed, starting with me.”

Durell Eskridge, Jay Bromley, Cameron Lynch, Marquis Spruill, and Robert Welsh led a defensive effort that limited the Demon Deacons offense to 213 total yards.

Quarterback Tanner Price, who entered the game third in the ACC in passing yards behind Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston completed just 22 passes on 54 attempts.

Price appeared heavily affected by the loss of dependable wide receiver Michael Campanaro. The dynamic senior wideout left the first half of the game with a collarbone injury. He is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks.

The last time the Orange shut out multiple opponents in one season was in 1997 when the team defeated Wisconsin and East Carolina.

Shafer says he’s going to enjoy the win for the night, but has already looked ahead to next week.

“We just have to keep finding ways to win,” he said. “I don’t care how pretty or ugly they are as long as we find a way to get it done.”

“We’re back to .500, but we have a tall task as we go over there to play a talented Maryland ball club.”

Links to post game news conference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iefaEfC1TNs&feature=youtu.be (Scott Shafer)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lrOe1tuYEw&feature=youtu.be (Terrel Hunt & Jarrod West)

Orange Crush Tigers in Exhibition Game, 79-41

November 2, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — The Syracuse men’s basketball team came out strong against Holy Family in the first half and never looked back.  The Orange scored a 79-41 victory in the first of two exhibition games to open the 2013-2014 season. Less than three minutes into the game, the Orange had grabbed a 10-0 lead.  […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  The Syracuse men’s basketball team came out strong against Holy Family in the first half and never looked back.  The Orange scored a 79-41 victory in the first of two exhibition games to open the 2013-2014 season.

Less than three minutes into the game, the Orange had grabbed a 10-0 lead.  Holy Family, a Division II team out of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, could not recover from the initial blow.  The Tigers shot 20 percent in the first half with nearly more turnovers (10) than points (13).

Coach Jim Boeheim noticed his team’s defensive effort, which caused Holy Family to settle for difficult outside shots the entire game.

“Our defense was pretty good for a while tonight,” Boeheim said.  “I thought we did a pretty good job with our movement defensively. It was a good outing. A lot of things that we can improve on as we go forward.”

Senior C.J. Fair showed why he was chosen as the Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Player of the Year by tallying 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists.  Two Fair assists on consecutive possessions in the first half led to a Rakeem Christmas dunk and a Tyler Ennis three pointer.  These two plays brought the Carrier Dome crowd to its feet and captured all the momentum the Orange would need.

Boeheim credited Fair’s play to the effort he has made in the offseason.

“I think he’s gotten better,” Boeheim said “I thought he showed that he’s improved his playmaking,” .

Fair said the team can still improve on playing a complete game moving forward.

“We got going a little bit in the first half, a little bit in the second half,” Fair said. “We need to learn how to keep our rhythm throughout the game.”

A concern coming into the season was how the Orange would replace star point guard Michael Carter-Williams.  Freshman Tyler Ennis filled the void well tonight with 12 points and a few pinpoint passes that led to scores.  When asked about Ennis, Boeheim showed complete confidence in his floor general.

“Yeah, he was fine,” Boeheim said. “I don’t even think about him.”

Ennis said the team has a few things to improve on before the official games begin next Tuesday.

“Get the kinks out, get everybody comfortable, myself included,” Ennis said.  “Coach has a lot of things.  He says we have a long way to go, so we’ll continue to work.”

The Orange did what was expected and dominated its first exhibition game from start to finish.  Boeheim says the team will look to improve going into next week’s games against Ryerson and the season opener against Cornell.

“We learned some things.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to work on them for a couple days and come back Tuesday and see what we can do.”

Syracuse plays Ryerson on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.

McNabb Ready for his Jersey to be Retired

November 1, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Donovan McNabb takes a stroll down memory lane as he returns to Syracuse University, the place where his football career took off. The Orange will honor McNabb by retiring his #5 jersey during its ACC game against Wake Forest Saturday. “Being here in this facility, it brings back a lot of […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Donovan McNabb takes a stroll down memory lane as he returns to Syracuse University, the place where his football career took off. The Orange will honor McNabb by retiring his #5 jersey during its ACC game against Wake Forest Saturday.

“Being here in this facility, it brings back a lot of memories,” McNabb said at a news conference at Manley Fieldhouse Friday.

In the five years that McNabb was in Syracuse, he brought Syracuse football back onto the national landscape, going 35-14 in his four years as a starter, and leading the Orange to the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl in his final two seasons. McNabb was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 1995, before being named Big East Offensive Player of the Year his final three seasons, 1996-1998.

From McNabb’s 96-yard TD pass to future NFL Hall-Of-Famer Marvin Harrison in 1995, which remains the longest play in Syracuse football history, to his senior day game against Miami in 1998, when the Orange cruised to a 66-13 win, including a 51-yard TD run by McNabb, one thing is for certain; he will never forget the memories.

When asked what it will be like to walk back out there on that field on Saturday, McNabb lit up with excitement.

“I’m going to try to treat it just like we’re playing Miami… We approached it just like it was our Super Bowl, and coming out of that tunnel on Saturday, that’s how I’m going to approach it.” McNabb said. “It was a wonderful time, one I will always remember.”

McNabb said he was going to sit down and speak with current SU QB Terrel Hunt Friday afternoon. McNabb said he has enjoyed watching the start of Hunt’s career this season, and believes he can bring people across the country to start talking Syracuse Football once again.

“I’ve always felt like for a college and NFL team, you need a quarterback,” McNabb said. “You’ve seen a glimpse of a young man in T-Hunt, to be the QB for years to come.”.

Hunt has the arm strength, the brains, and all the intangibles you want in a starting quarterback, according to McNabb.

“He can make plays. Maybe seeing the type of career that Tajh Boyd (of Clemson) is having this season, may be T-Hunt in about two years.”

Looking back on his career at Syracuse, McNabb said he enjoyed every second of it, from being over on Skytop, to roaming around Marshall Street. Many of the stories from his college days he was unwilling to share.

“Those are things that stay hidden,” McNabb said “Let’s just say we had a great time.”

Shafer: Blowout Loss is Behind Us

November 1, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — After being shut out for the first time since 2007, Syracuse football head coach Scott Shafer says the SU Orange (3-4, 1-2) have turned the page after being dismantled 56-0 by Georgia Tech in Atlanta. “We’ve gotten by that loss,” Shafer said on the ACC’s coaches’ teleconference Wednesday. . “We’ve had […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  After being shut out for the first time since 2007, Syracuse football head coach Scott Shafer says the SU Orange (3-4, 1-2) have turned the page after being dismantled 56-0 by Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

“We’ve gotten by that loss,” Shafer said on the ACC’s coaches’ teleconference Wednesday. . “We’ve had tunnel vision forward after that Sunday.”

The Orange is coming off its second bye week of the season. Shafer said the extra time has been advantageous for the team as is hosts Atlantic Division rival Wake Forest on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.

“We had a good bye week,” Shafer said. “We got to get the kids healthy and now we’re 100-percent focused on the next game against a well-coached Wake Forest team.”

Speaking of health, the Orange defense will receive a much-needed boost against the Demon Deacons as linebacker Dyshawn Davis is expected to return after suffering a high ankle sprain in the first half against North Carolina State back on October 12.

“He’s doing well,” Shafer said. “We’re ramping him up each day and looking forward to getting him out on the field.”

Shafer pointed out the importance of limiting mistakes particularly by the SU secondary against a Demon Deacons offense that throws for 230 passing yards a game.

He praised Wake’s senior wideout Michael Campanaro, who ranks second in the ACC in receiving yards and needs just six receptions to move into second place on the ACC’s career list.

“He reminds me of (Wes) Welker,” Shafer said. “He accounts for 32 percent of their offense and 44 percent of their passes have been thrown at him.

You really can’t keep him from catching a pass but you have to do a good job tackling when he does and change some things up and cause confusion.”

Syracuse fans may remember Wake’s quarterback from a couple of years ago. Senior Tanner Price played at the Carrier Dome back in 2011 where he tossed for 289 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Price has been on a torrid stretch for the Demon Deacons. He has thrown eight touchdowns in the last three games.

The Demon Deacons, however, are coming off a devastating 24-21 loss to seventh-ranked Miami in the final minute in South Florida. Head Coach Jim Grobe, who is one win away from breaking the school record for wins, can relate to Shafer’s game plan mentality this week.

“We’re disappointed that we came out of Miami with a loss, but now we got to try to regroup a play a talented Syracuse team that’s very well-coached,” Grobe said. “We have a big job ahead of us.”

Grobe said he’s been impressed with the air attack of the Orange, despite its ineffectiveness of late.

“One of the keys to being a good football team is to be balanced,” Grobe said. “Syracuse does a nice job of that. I think they had 16 or 18 kids catch passes for them. They’ve got a very talented quarterback.”

Shafer says he has no concern regarding quarterback Terrel Hunt, who will attempt to rebound from three straight performances in which he did not throw for a touchdown and recorded less than 75 yards passing each game.

“He’s a fighter…a hardworking kid,” he said. “He can brush it off and go to the next game. You prepare like a man for the next game and Terrel’s done a nice job of that.”

This game has major implications for bowl eligibility for both teams. With a loss, Wake would need to win two of its final three games which are against FSU, Duke, and Vanderbilt. Syracuse on the other hand, would need to win three of its last four against Maryland, FSU, Pitt, and BC.

Another story line coming into this contest deals with the Orange kicking game. Starting placekicker Ryan Norton was suspended last Friday for the team’s game this weekend. Norton was charged with resisting arrest and underage possession of alcohol. Norton had replaced Ross Krautman who is out for the season with an injury.

“Riley Dixon and Jonathan Fisher will split kicking duties versus Wake for suspended Ryan Norton,” said Shafer. “It will depend on the situation.”

The game will be televised regionally on MSG.

UFC 166 Raises the Bar

October 25, 2013

SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — Last Saturday’s UFC 166 in Houston’s sold out Toyota Center was a bloody victory for fan, fighter, and promotion. UFC president Dana White hailed the event as the best card in UFC history, with hard knockouts and sustained battles between heavy hitters. Color commentator Joe Rogan agreed, citing the brawl between welterweights […]

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SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center)  Last Saturday’s UFC 166 in Houston’s sold out Toyota Center was a bloody victory for fan, fighter, and promotion.

UFC president Dana White hailed the event as the best card in UFC history, with hard knockouts and sustained battles between heavy hitters. Color commentator Joe Rogan agreed, citing the brawl between welterweights Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez as the best fight he’d ever seen. Twitter exploded with praise from sports writers.

“Unbelievable,” ESPN’s Brett Okamoto Tweeted after the Melendez-Sanchez fight . “I’d applaud if it wasn’t drilled into my whole journalistic career that I can’t. I may have clapped once.” Okamoto’s fellow ESPN writer Josh Gross Tweeted, “That fight surpassed every expectation I had, and I talked it up like crazy. Kudos warriors.”

Both fighters won $60,000 bonuses for the Fight of the Night, and the heavyweight division saw a definitive victory for reigning champion Cain Velasquez over Junior dos Santos in their third title fight.

“Without a doubt the greatest night of fights we have ever had,” White told Rogan in a post-event media recap. “From the first fight of the night, right up to the Heavyweight Championship, it’s the best fight card we have ever had.”

Melendez-Sanchez

The match between Melendez and Sanchez started with a bang and gained intensity for the full three rounds. An elbow from Melendez split a gash into Sanchez’s left eyebrow in the first round. Sanchez shrugged the cut off even as his face turned into a bloody mask and the two cage side doctors stopped the fight repeatedly to examine him. Sanchez took the worse end of a standup beating for the first two rounds and came alive in the third looking for a knockout victory to avoid a loss by decision.

In the end of the third round, each fighter threw wild, powerful punch combinations at the other, abandoning defense and trading blows that landed hard and flush. Sanchez’s eyebrow sagged open three inches, but taunted Melendez to hit him harder. Throughout the fight, Melendez dominated and won a unanimous decision, but Sanchez’s grit nearly outshined his defeat. The accurate striking plus whatever gravel in Sanchez’s gut made the fight a candidate for Best Fight of the Year.

“It was a battle and exactly what I expected from him as an opponent,” Melendez said in the post fight interview with Joe Rogan. “He didn’t go down at all.”

In the main event, a rubber match between heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former champion Junior dos Santos ended with a TKO in the fifth and final round. Velasquez pressed the attack throughout the fight. Rather than trade blows with dos Santos, whose boxing prowess knocked Velasquez out two fights past, the champ bulled dos Santos into the cage and held him in a clinch, landing blows at will. Dos Santos endured four rounds of the same brutality before a sharp elbow to the left side of his face shattered his remaining resolve. He sank to his knees, covered his head against the onslaught, and referee Dean Herb stopped the fight.

“He beat me up,” said dos Santos. “What can I say?”

UFC president Dana White said the next logical title defense for Velasquez will be against Fabricio Werdum, the number three ranked UFC heavyweight.

Cormier-Nelson

A slugfest between top ten ranked heavyweights Daniel Cormier and Roy Nelson ended with a victory for Cormier. Cormier controlled the fight all three rounds, outwrestling Nelson and landing crisp punches and leg kicks. He was unable to hurt the famously punishment immune Nelson, but won a unanimous decision.

Gonzaga-Dodson

Gabriel Gonzaga and John Dodson won knockouts over their opponents, with a Knockout of the Night bonus to Dodson. Heavyweight Gonzaga crashed into Shawn Jordan’s chin with a short right hand and ended the fight at 1:33 seconds in the first round, tying seventh ranked Frank Mir for the most opponents finished before the final bell in the heavyweight division at 11. Dodson’s hand speed won the match against Darrell Montague, knocking him out with a straight left to the chin.

The storylines of the main and co-main heavyweight fights bring exciting implications for the UFC’s least competitive division. Daniel Cormier, ranked number two, has promised to move down to the light heavyweight division and challenge champion Jon Jones, a matchup that could possibly challenge the dominant Jones more than the current light heavyweight crop. Cormier trains with Cain Velasquez and says he has no interest in fighting him, but the bankability of a teammate fight might tempt the UFC to keep him in contention in his current weight.

Meanwhile, Junior do Santos, though decisively beaten twice by Velasquez, says he wants another match. The UFC has never had two fighters face each other more than three times. A historic four-fight series between two fighters who stand far above the competition would draw immense fan attention.