Day & Time: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: N/A ESPN BPI gives Syracuse a 94.5 percent chance of winning.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Cornell blog: Mid-Major Madness
Rivalry: 92-31, Syracuse
Current Streak: 38, Orange...Big Orange
First Meeting: Syracuse outlasted Cornell back in February of 1901, 18-15. It was the second game of the season for Syracuse, which had previously lost to RPI the month before. That ‘01-’02 (as in 1901-1902) SU squad ended up with a 2-2 record, with wins over the Big Red and St. Lawrence.
Last Meeting: In something of a reality-lives-up-to-hype moment, Cornell freshman Jimmy Boeheim, son of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, came out of the gate hot. Playing in his first collegiate game, Jimmy scored the Big Red’s first five points: hitting a three-pointer near his old man and the SU bench and off a drive to the bucket. Cornell grabbed an early 5-2 lead and it looked like child was ready for father.
Then reality set in as Syracuse went on a 14-1 run to take a 16-6 lead. During that stretch, the Big Red missed 11-straight shots and failed to hit from the field for over 10 minutes of game action. The route was on and the Orange ultimately cruised to a 77-45 win inside the Dome.
Syracuse was led by Tyus Battle’s 18 points, and Geno “Remember Me?” Thorpe (12), Oshae Brissett (11) also reaching double figures in the victory. Which came in large part because the zone suffocated Cornell, holding the Big Red to 25-percent shooting, and a paltry 4 of 27 from deep.
Jimmy Boeheim started his college career 0-1 in games and in Boeheim Bowls. But he did score 11 points and pull down five rebounds and had the look of someone who can play at collegiate level (albeit the Ivy League version). It was a performance that led father Jim to this emotional outburst postgame: “I’m not playing so it doesn’t matter what my emotions are. You’re hoping your son plays well.” That’s Coach Boeheim’s version of a Hallmark movie teary-eyed climatic monologue.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (43rd year, 1,030-373); Brian Earl, Cornell: (3rd year, 20-37)
Coach Bio: Following the weird tradition of keeping things in-house in the Ivy League, Brian Earl was an assistant at Princeton for a decade before heading up to Cornell to resurrect the Big Red. In year one, they weren’t exactly “back” since they won just eight games. That was actually a step back from the last couple years of Bill Courtney, when Cornell won 13 games in 2014-15 and 10 in 2015-16. Year two would show improvement for Earl and the Big Red, but the team still failed to finish above .500.
Last Year: The good news: Cornell won more games overall and in the Ivy League than it did in 2017-18. The bad news: the Big Red didn’t exactly win a lot more than it had the previous season.
Overall, Cornell finished with a 12-16 record, 6-8 in the Ivy, and once again was left out of any postseason tourneys. The Big Red also suffered three-game losing streaks during the campaign, the first coming in the non-conference slate and the other in Ivy League play. There was improvement, though, as Earl’s team did finish fourth in the Ivy standings and was able to play in the conference tournament, a blowout loss in the semis to top-seeded Harvard.
Last Game: The Big Red squeaked out a 63-58 win in overtime at Lafayette Wednesday night. The Leopards forced OT when Alex Petrie canned a three-pointer with just eights seconds to play in regulation. Conversely, a three from Josh Warren in the extra session helped the Big Red pull away for the non-conference road victory.
Up until Warren’s shot, the game was a seesaw in the second half and the overtime, with neither holding a lead larger than three points during that time. Warren, a six-foot-eight forward, tallied 17 points, a career high for the junior. The only other Cornell player to hit for double digits was Matt Morgan who tallied 12 points. While Jimmy Boeheim, off the bench for Earl’s squad, scored just four points in 23 minutes of action.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Matt Morgan is a senior guard who is currently hitting 47 percent of this three-point attempts and has seen the Syracuse zone before. Last year, Morgan scored 14 points in the Dome but hit just two of his seven attempts from deep. So far this season, Morgan is averaging 23.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. All of those stats either lead the team or are good enough to be tied for the team lead.
Jimmy Boeheim, meanwhile, is the second leading scorer (12 points per) and is someone who obviously has an understanding of what Syracuse likes to do as a team. Now a sophomore, and playing against not just dad but brother Buddy Boeheim, it wouldn’t be unthinkable if Jimmy tries to have a big game tomorrow night.
If Syracuse Wins: The momentum train keeps on rolling. This would be the third-straight win, it would up the overall record to 5-2 and, especially if it’s a Big Red beat down, could up the optimism meter just a touch more. Plus, it would provide more credence to the idea that Syracuse wasn’t Syracuse without Frank Howard.
Beating Cornell for the eleventy billionth time in a row isn’t traditionally something to get anyone’s attention, but following the win at Ohio State, Saturday night should be a continuation in righting the wrongs of the two losses in New York City.
If Syracuse Loses: Momentum train, meet the Train of Doom.
Fun Fact No. 1: It cost 34 cents for a gallon of gas the last time Cornell beat Syracuse. The price of a new home back then? It was about $26,500 back in ‘68. It was so long ago, a nickel cost a dime and a milkshake came with price tag of two bucks—two live, male deer.
Fun Fact No. 2: Remember that time Syracuse and Cornell got into the donnybrook? That brouhaha? You don’t? Well here you go!
(If this happened in 2018, both teams would be penalized into the next decade. But back then, everyone was like, “welp, that happened. When’s practice tomorrow, coach?”)