Helluva "neutral site" win, huh?
Despite playing an erratic and sloppy-at-times first half, the Orange pulled it together just in time to earn a ha-yuge OT win over Kansas, the second ranked team to fall to the Orange in as many days.
Jonny Flynn's dagger three-pointer at the end of regulation sent the game into overtime where the Orange simply took over thanks to Paul Harris' strong rebounding and Arinze Onuaku's ability to suck the souls out of Kansas' players with his thoughts (I think).
Flynn led the way with 25. Flynn got fired up late in the first half and decided he was going to will the Orange back into the game. He also understood when he needed to back off on that and get other people going. If there was any question over who ran the ship for the Orange, it was settled tonight (at least to SU fans).
On paper, Devo had a good game with 20 points and 5 assists. Though it should be noted that Devo had one of the most frustrating games I've ever watched as a fan. Devo seems to have decided that he is the heart and soul of the team and must them on his back any time the momentum is against them. It's simply not true and Devo only plays more erratically and off-balance in that mindset. It's the kind of game-playing that will catch up with him and the Orange...he won't always have Flynn, Harris, A.O. and Rautins there to cover for him. His ego needs to be put in check and fast. He's going to cost the Orange games otherwise.
Harris had 14 and 11 and played his best when the game came to him. What Paul needs to avoid is trying to create. Anytime he tried to make something happen, something did...and it was usually bad. But Harris had some clutch plays, including a MONSTER block late in regulation to save the momentum and possibly the game. He's scrappy, that Paul Harris.
Arinze Onuaku? All he had was 19 points on 8-for-8 FG and 3-for-3 FT shooting to go with his 12 rebounds. He proved himself a dominating force in the paint all night on both sides of the ball. Much more to come from the big man.
On the negative side...hit your free throws, hit your free throws, hit your free throws. Oh man is this going to bite us in the ass at some point. Almost did tonight. And I hate to say it but, we played a million times better in man-to-man than in zone. Just sayin', Jimmy B. Just sayin'.
Tough game to watch at times, especially in the first half. But the Orange showed a lot of resolve in what was, for all intents and purposes, a road game against the defending national champion. Don't be fooled into thinking this was neutral site...the Jayhawks practically had a student section behind one of the hoops.
Assuming a win over Virginia (who lost to Liberty tonight) on Friday, the Orange will be ranked next Monday. Hell, even if they lose that game they'll probably still be ranked. They just beat the two teams that have won the last three titles...I'd say that qualifies. Not that the Orange need this kind of recognition yet and they might be better off still lurking in the Big East shadows, but at least now SU knows they can hang with the big boys again. They can compete in the Big East and they will return to the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse basketball is back. Nooch.
Oh and it's Game #4 of the season and I'm already sick of Dick Vitale. Make him go away. Please.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)