Summit Auto Group Best of the Week: One undisputed fact remains – Syracuse University draws the biggest on-campus crowds in college basketball. And the biggest of this season – more than 31,000 worth – were in the Dome on February 1 for the latest chapter in the growing saga of the Orange against the mighty Duke Blue Devils. In a very short time, Duke has replaced Georgetown as the heart of SU’s schedule, evoking so many memories and producing a string of epochal games that have often turned in the Orange’s favor.
SOS Rewind and Archive: The SU-Duke rivalry has included a pair of NCAA Tournament encounters during the Sweet 16. They met in 1998, with the Orange a decided underdog in St. Petersburg, Florida in the South Regional, and the Blue Devils were simply a better team, winning that time 80-67. Exactly two decades later, in 2018, the pair reunited, this time in the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Nebraska in the wake of SU’s upset of Michigan State in the second round in Detroit. Tough to the very end, the Orange again fell, this time by a 69-65 margin.
AFLAC Trivia Tidbit: That SU team in 2018 would not have done what it did without the big contributions from Oshae Brissett. A freshman forward, Brissett made quite the impact, amassing 14.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. And he saved his best stuff for the big games, such as SU’s 86-79 win over long-time rival Georgetown where he got 25 points and 14 rebounds, plus in the first NCAA Tounament play-in game against Arizona State, where without Brissett’s 20 points and 10 rebounds, it’s doubtful the Orange win that game or two more that follow in the tournament.
Upstate Medical University Community Corner: It’s important to remember that, even if he is the enemy on the court, Mike Krzyzewski is quite a champion off the court. Just as Jim Boeheim has done so much for Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society, Coach K is a primary force behind the V Foundation for Cancer Research, founded after his one-time rival Jim Valvano passed away from cancer at age 47 in 1993. In fact, Jimmy V spent his last days at a hospital near Duke University.
U.S. Army Weekly Recap: Though it played quite well and showed lots of spirit, SU could not maintain its win streak against Duke at the Dome on February 1, the Blue Devils prevailing 97-88. Continuing his recent hot play, Marek Dolezaj produced 22 points and Elijah Hughes got 21 points as Joseph Girard III had 17 to go with seven assists. But Duke was too accurate, making 57.4 percent of its field goals and getting five players to score in double figures, paced by Vernon Carey’s 26 points and 17 rebounds.