Summit Auto Group Best of the Week: This one falls on the entire SU roster. Off back-to-back defeats, down double digits at halftime to Georgia Tech and sinking down the ACC standings, the Orange had an inspired 10-minute stretch where it outscored the Yellow Jackets 29-15 to go into the lead. Not looking back, SU won 79-72, at least giving itself a much-needed boost of momentum that carried over into a romp of Pittsburgh a few nights later and some confidence heading into the last few weeks of the regular season.
SOS Rewind and Archive: It’s the 20th anniversary of the 1989-90 season for SU basketball. Derrick Coleman was a senior and an All-American, but he wasn’t even the team’s leading scorer, with 17.9 points per game to Billy Owens’ 18.2, but Coleman did pull down 12.1 rebounds a game, one of the best single-season averages in school history. Ultimately SU went 26-7, winning the Big East regular-season title at 12-4, falling in the Big East final to Connecticut and reaching the NCAA round of 16 before a defeat to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
AFLAC Trivia Tidbit: While Derrick Coleman and Billy Owens were the celebrated members of the 1989-90 SU team and Stephen Thompson another big star, one freshman on the squad saw action in 20 games but mostly watched from the bench at the Dome. That made sense, because that kid from California, Mike Hopkins, would, when his college career was done, ultimately return to SU and serve a 21-year stint as assistant coach, slated to be Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent before the University of Washington lured him away in 2017.
Upstate Medical University Community Corner: The funny thing about Stephen Thompson was that he took plenty of heat during his SU career despite starting for three years and averaging better than 14 points a game as a sophomore, and 18 points over the next two seasons. It largely stemmed from that awful free-throw shooting – it was 51 percent as a senior. But he proved so good as a coach at Cal State-Los Angeles that his work earned him both the Vic Hanson Medal of Excellence in 2007 and SU’s Letterwinner of Distinction eight years later.
U.S. Army Weekly Recap: Just in time, SU rescued a season that threatened again to go off the rails. Hosting Georgia Tech on February 22, the Orange ignored Moses Wright’s 33 points and, with four players scoring between 13 and 20 points, SU rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit and defeated the Yellow Jackets 79-72. It was far less dramatic in a rematch with Pittsburgh at Petersen Events Center, the Orange completing the season sweep with a 72-49 destruction of the Panthers where Elijah Hughes again went to the forefront, earning 25 points.