The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team finished just short of pulling off an impressive come-from-behind victory Tuesday night against their host the Michigan Wolverines (6-1).
Trailing 58-48 with under seven minutes remaining in the game, the Orange (5-2) snuck within one point and had a chance to steal a victory in the closing seconds, however, key turnovers doomed the effort–one that Jim Boeheim called the team's best this season.
In this edition of Syracuse Basketball Vine Rewind, fans get a look at the fantastic play of Michigan sixth-man Spike Albrecht, the awakening of Orange junior sharp shooter Trevor Cooney and ALL THE TURNOVERS!! that doomed the comeback effort at Ann Arbor.
Here... We... Go.
Writer's note: Before you go all crazy in the comments section about my television being dirty, understand it is NOT my television screen, it is my camera phone lens. I can't get it clean. Haven't be able to for awhile, so please, just deal.
Trevor Cooney (Finally) Shows Up
Our first Vine showcases what Syracuse fans have been witnessing for awhile now–Cooney missing 3-point shots badly, and missing them badly even if he is wide open.
There was a time during Tuesday's contest when I was questioning Boeheim's sanity–seriously, what does Cooney need to do to get benched? Sure, I get he is a solid defensive player and does know what he is doing in the offense, but at a certain point if a guard isn't making ANY shots then his overall value diminishes.
In fact, there was a five-minute stretch in the first half where Ron Patterson did play and, if I am assuming correctly, would have played more if Cooney didn't get his crap together.
After not making any of his three field goal attempts (two of them being the 3s shown above), Cooney found his shooting stroke in the second half and helped the Orange stay within striking distance of the Wolverines, who started to heat up from behind the 3-point arc.
In the end, Cooney made four of his nine 3-point attempts and made all four of his free-throw opportunities in a team-best 16-point performance.
Mr. Cooney, welcome back to the fold. Hope you can stay there.
Chris McCullough, Michael Gbinije Spark Key Run
In the first half of this ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown, senior center Rakeem Christmas was the team's MVP scoring 11 of his 15 points. Rak pretty much did what he wanted in the first 20 minutes against Michigan, but things changed in the second half when John Beilein sent double- and triple-teams his way.
Without somebody else stepping up the Orange were doomed.
Re-entering the game with four fouls and his team trailing 58-49 with less than seven minutes to play, McCullough played like a veteran big man for a six-minute span that helped SU get back into the game.
First, McCullough battled for rebounds on both defense and offense while not committing his fifth foul, which would have kicked him out of the game. Second, he made big-time plays like getting big tip-ins and second-chance buckets. He also was able to find a wide open Cooney for a key 3-point shot.
Meanwhile, junior guard Michael Gbinije found some confidence and the willingness to go to the basket. This help setup a deep Cooney 3-pointer and an easy bucket for Christmas.
Gbinije's biggest play came with 20 second remaining. (I am pretty sure he was fouled on the play.)
All-in-all, McCullough compiled another double-double performance (10 points and 12 rebounds), while Gbinije tallied 10 points on three of five shooting with three rebounds and two steals.
The Spike Albrecht Show
Every once in a while, an opposing player plays so well you can't help but tip your cap and move on. On Tuesday, Spike Albrecht put on that type of show.
With his team trailing by three points at halftime, Albrecht quickly entered the game in the second half and went on a hot streak that lead to a 29-17 Michigan run. During the span, which lasted 11 minutes, Albrecht compiled six assists, a rebound and made both of his 3-point attempts.
Here's what it looked like.
His biggest play came with 31 seconds remaining in the game, when he nailed the Wolverine's game-winning shot–a NBA-range 3-pointer that gave his team a 66-63 advantage.
Damn you, Spike Albrecht!
Doomed By Turnovers
Blah. This edition of Syracuse Basketball Vine Rewind must came to a sad end, as we need to showcase what happened during Michigan's second-half run that gave them a double-digit lead and the two costly turnovers near the end of the game.
First, here's how Spike Albrecht was able to get a lot of opportunities to dish out assists and make 3-pointers. ALL THESE AWFUL TURNOVERS.
By now, everyone knows that overall outcome of 19 turnovers. None of them were more critical than this one by McCullough, who collected a rebound after Michigan missed the front end of a one-and-one attempt at the free-throw line ahead 66-65 with 15 seconds to go...
...And this one, which came after Michigan again missed the front end of a one-and-one with about 10 seconds to go and SU had another possession to take the lead.
Tough to swallow. Yet, there was a lot to like about what Syracuse did on the road Tuesday night. It wasn't perfect, nor was it pretty most of the time, but during a seven-minute span in the second half the Orange were fantastic. This young squad can build on this showing and hopefully learn from it moving forward.
Syracuse Basketball Vine Rewind will come after most hoops games. Any suggestions on what to look for in next editions should be forward to @JaredSmithCNY.