|Posted on February 4, 2017 at 3:30 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
Whatever is written in some books but not others is inconsequential.
You cannot change history.
You cannot erase history.
Fans in the stands know what has happened.
You know what happened.
I know what happened.
In 40+ years of coaching, Jim Boeheim has led the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team to the Final Four in each decade he has coached in.
He has celebrated his first win, 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, 600th, 700th, 800th, and 900th, all leading to this moment.
A home contest with the Virginia Cavaliers, inside the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), versus a top-10 ranked team in the nation.
The Orange fought to get even with the Cavaliers in the first half, and they did, tying the game on four separate occasions, but never took the advantage.
At the break, Syracuse was down by their largest deficit of the game, 12 points, 34-22, to Virginia.
Down...but not out.
With 11:56 left to play in the game, the Orange took the lead for the first time after a span of over 28 minutes without the advantage. That lead came off of a shot beyond the arc by sophomore forward/center Tyler Lydon that made it 39-36 Orange.
Back-to-back three-pointers by graduate transfer guard/forward Andrew White, III, prior to Lydon's deep ball aided in the turnaround for the Orange. White would end the game tied with his teammate, true freshman guard Tyus Battle, for the most points scored by a Syracuse student-athlete in the contest, with 23 apiece, combining to account for 46 of the team's 66 total points.
As a whole, Syracuse's offense elevated itself in the second half, making nine field goals with a little over eight minutes remaining in the half. The Orange had nine field goals in all 20 minutes of the first half.
Syracuse would not relinquish the lead from there, keeping Virginia at bay for the final 11:56 after playing from behind for over 28 minutes.
The Cavaliers came within two points of the Orange six times in the final 10:40 of the game, but the Orange always had an answer, be it free throws, a jumper, or a high-percentage shot at the rim en route to a 66-62 victory.
Resiliency has become an adjective to describe this season's team.
They have played four closely-contested games in a row versus the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, versus the Florida State Seminoles, on the road against the N.C. State Wolfpack, and versus the Virginia Cavaliers.
Syracuse has responded with resiliency, winning all four, resulting in a four-game winning streak that took an 11-9 squad that was 3-4 in the ACC and turned them into a 15-9 team that is now 7-4 in the ACC.
Essentially, the Orange have gone from the outside-looking-in approach to the NCAA Tournament to making a case for themselves.
A win over a nationally-respected team? Done. Twice, with Syracuse defeating two top-10 ranked teams in the nation at the time of play, when they emerged victorious over Florida State and now Virginia.
Showing they can win away from the Carrier Dome? Done, when the Orange pushed the Wolfpack to overtime and took over from there.
Taking care of play inside your conference? Syracuse has won seven of 11 contests up to this point in the ACC.
Display that your team is improving as the season goes on? After losing three of four, the Orange have now won four straight, as aforementioned.
It is inevitable that the fight in this team has shown itself, that we were only seeing a glimpse of what they can be.
They are playing as a cohesive unit that refuses to quit more now than they have all season.
Oh, and the current Orange student-athletes just so happened to roll Boeheim into 1,000 career wins.
What once was becoming a forgettable season to some has now turned into a viable shot at the NCAA Tournament.
This tumultuous season has Boeheim emerging from the smoke with a suit on that has no burns once again.
Highlight the asterisk with your mouse and delete it.
Boeheim has not only won 1,000 games, he has risen to the quadruple-digit mark with a team comprised of four student-athletes (True freshman forward/center Taurean Thompson, graduate transfer point guard John Gillon, White, and Battle) that were not on the roster last season when the team ended their 2015-16 campaign in the Final Four.
Throw Boeheim a curveball...a slider...a changeup...a fastball, and he will still hit it.
Let people say what they want to say.
Any psychiatrist will tell you that pretending your past did not happen is not healthy.
Congrats on 1,000 victories, Jim Boeheim, from those of us that have eyes and ears and the notion that a white-out pen does not work the same on history as it does inside of a book.