Summit Auto Group Best of the Week: Few college basketball teams ever end their season with a victory due to the nature of post-season tournaments. But the COVID-19 outbreak shut things down on March 12, one day after SU ventured to Greensboro and, in what turned out to be its only game of the ACC Tournament, smashed the North Carolina Tar Heels 81-53, sweet payback for losing to Carolina just 11 days earlier. Just as he had done throughout the entire season, Elijah Hughes led the way with 27 points.
SOS Rewind and Archive: SU ending North Caroilna’s season has happened before, in two very famous instances. In 1975, Jimmy Lee’s last-second shot sank the Tar Heels 78-76 in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 16, propelling the Orange on the way to its first Final Four berth. Twelve years later in the Meadowlands, SU held off a furious Carolina rally and, with Rony Seikaly’s 26 points and 11 rebounds, won 79-75 to get that second Final Four bid that, in New Orleans, came within one Keith Smart basket of a national title.
AFLAC Trivia Tidbit: What made SU’s first Final Four apppearance in 1975 so special was that, a month before it happened, it didn’t seem possible. Roy Danforth’s charges had a stretch from January 25 to February 15 where it went 3-5, losing to Boston College, Penn State, Rutgers, West Virginia and Canisius. But when SU knocked off George Washington on February 22, it began a nine-game win streak that included those dramatic NCAA wins over La Salle, North Carolina and Kansas State and a Final Four breakthrough.
Upstate Medical University Community Corner: Locally, perhaps the most impactful member of the 1974-75 SU Final Four team wasn’t a star player. Kevin King averaged 7.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Orange, but decades later he turned up on the Central New York basketball courts again as the coach of the Westhill boys varsity team. All that King has done at Westhill has led the Warriors to four state Class B championships in the last decade, spanning 2010 to 2017.
U.S. Army Weekly Recap: When SU went to Miami in the May 7 regular-season finale and lost, 69-65, in overtime to the Hurricanes, it appeared that the Orange could only see what it did in the ACC Tournament and then prepare for the NIT. But after SU avenged its February 29 defeat to North Carolina and handled the Tar Heels 81-53, the rest of the ACC Tournament was wiped out, and ultimately the rest of the college basketball season disappeared, too, amid the COVID-19 outbreak that halted the entire sports world.