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TBT: Orange Family Over Everything

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There comes a time (like down 25 in an elimination basketball game with $2 million on the line) when it takes a little something extra.

The Orange family crosses generations.
Andy Pregler

That was crazy. Like, legitimately insane. I don’t know if there’s another way to describe a 25 point comeback that ends a game on a 40-10 run. As far as I can tell, that kind of comeback has only ever been replicated in an NCAA Tournament game once. It brought back memories of another crazy game, but I don’t think even UVA could choke away 25.

And I’ll tell you this: I thought Thursday was the peak of the TBT. This was something else entirely. There wasn’t a seat open in the gym. Fans were on their feet, getting louder and louder with each passing bucket. Many were more than loud. The team needed something extra to fight back and the fans helped. And for what? Lost in all this is the fact that this team, should you go by Cuse.com, is not a Syracuse Orange Basketball (tm) team.

It’s something different yet probably way more familiar for everyone watching. We’re not watching 18-22 year old kids playing for their school. We’re watching a group of Syracuse alumni who, like us, want to wear an orange jersey. Sure, there’s a $2 million incentive, but it’s not coach speak to say this team would wear orange again just because they want to.

One of the perks of being in NYC this week has been GM Kevin Belbey’s dedication to make the team available. And in the probably 12 hours I’ve spent around the team at the gym, Dinosaur BBQ and games, the one thing that stands out is family. This is group of Syracuse University alumni who have gone through the beats of life after graduation. They have kids (adorable ones at that), have had career struggles, and matured into molders of future Syracuse University alumni.

It’s a team with an alum who didn’t want to look bad in front of his daughter in his hometown.

It’s a team with an alum who’s going through a really difficult career shift.

It’s a team of alumni who just want some extra money to take their families on a vacation. And we all get that because we’re all living that too, just in our own different ways.

So how did Boeheim’s Army manage this comeback? I’m not sure anyone truly knows. But I know this: we’ll all remember this for a long time. It’s firmly etched itself into Syracuse Orange Basketball (tm) lore. It’s one of, if not the, greatest comebacks in Syracuse Orange Basketball (tm) history. And technically speaking, these men weren’t wearing Syracuse Orange Basketball (tm) jerseys.

But we know better.

This is family.

Always and forever, an Orange family.