SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Dec. 15, 2007) - The last time ETSU men's basketball team played at Syracuse they lost by 39; however, when the season was over the Buccaneers were playing in March Madness. ETSU now hopes history repeats itself again, as the Bucs lost to the Orange 125-75 Saturday evening in front of 16,508 fans inside the Carrier Dome.
Ironically, it was back in the 1988-89 season when ETSU first faced Jim Boeheim's Syracuse club and the Bucs were defeated 120-81. Back then, Keith "Mister" Jennings led the Buccaneers to an NCAA Tournament appearance against Oklahoma, and this season he is back again as an honorary assistant coach. The Buccaneer faithful now hopes the "Mister Magic" rubs off on the current ETSU club, in which the team can be apart of the field of 65 come March.
The Orange saw six of their players score in double figures, including freshman Donte Greene's career-tying 25-point effort. ETSU had two reach double figures in scoring, as junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) led the Bucs with 23.
In the first half, Syracuse opened the game hitting its first seven shots and stormed out to a 16-0 advantage. Pigram ended the run with a lay-up at the 16:30 mark, but the Orange continued to dominate, going up 33-14 with 11:08 left in the half. Syracuse enjoyed the start, as they hit seven of its first 11 three-pointers and were shooting 68.4 percent from the field (13-19) 11 minutes into the contest. During the stretch, Syracuse's (Donte) Greene led the charge, scoring 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. It looked like the Bucs were gaining a little momentum as they got to within 38-27; however, Syracuse would close out the final seven minutes on a 30-12 run to take 68-39 lead into the locker room.
The Orange shot an amazing 75.8 percent (25-33) from the floor during the first 20 minutes, compared to only 15-of-39 (38.5 percent) by ETSU. Syracuse was also on fire from beyond the arc, connecting on 63.2 percent of its threes (12-19), while the Bucs posted a 38.9 clip from three-point land (7-18). Greene led all scorers with 20 at break; while Travis Strong (Memphis) led ETSU with 11.
Unfortunately, Syracuse continued to mirror itself in the second half as they finished the final 20 minutes with a 75.9 shooting clip from the field, and only missed seven field goal attempts in the stanza (22-29). ETSU never could gain any momentum, as the Orange eclipsed the 100-point plateau on Arinze Onuaku lay-up at the 11:03 mark.
For the contest, Syracuse shot a program-record 75.8 percent from the field (47-62) and tied its school record by draining 15 three-pointers in the win. The Bucs were limited to a 37.3 shooting percentage (28-75), and were out-rebounded 49-26. The 125 points scored by the Orange were the most allowed by the Buccaneers in a single game.
The Bucs will now try to escape the blizzard that is expected to hit the region, and make it out to Hawaii for the Rainbow Classic. ETSU opens play in the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 20, when they face SEC foe Georgia. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. HAST (12:30 a.m. EST) from the Stan Sheriff Center. Please click on the link above for a full bracket of the Classic.
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