The Upside - Duke III |

The Upside - Duke III


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
- That was a basketball Alamo. We were deprived of our starting center, (and old story), our leading scorer, our 5 star third forward and two other back-up big men were hobbled. We could barely put together a starting line-up and had virtually no depth, none at all in the backcourt. We were facing a potential national champion that had beaten us by 20 and then 25 points. We fell behind 13-24 in the first eight minutes. But then we went on a 10-0 run to get back in it at 23-24. Duke started scoring again but we didn’t stop, taking a 33-30 lead with just under 7-minute left in the half. Duke scored 6 in a row but we countered with 7 in a row to end the half, including a buzzer shot by Joe Girard for a 40-36 halftime lead.

- Cole Swider, who had been 1 for 6 from the field and 0 for 4 from the arc in the otherwise wonderful first half, opened the second with a three pointer to give us a 7 point lead. We traded baskets and it was 45-38, then 48-41, 50-42 and 52-45 with 16:34 left. That was our high water mark Duke tied it at 55 and then took the lead at 55-57 with 13:29 left. Another Swider trye gave us the lead back but Duke was pounding the ball to their big men inside and back out to their three point shooters. They pushed on to a 64-60 lead when Swider hit another trey, then 63-67 when Jimmy Boeheim hit a trey then 67-72 and 71-76 with 5:09 left. But the ‘Cuse had one last run in them, 8-2, capped by a Boeheim, [I don’t have to say which one☹], lay-up to give SU on last lead at 79-78 with 3:32 left.

- Mark Williams missed a dunk but Wendell more got the rebound and was fouled, making both shots to give Duke the lead for good. Jimmy missed and Williams start a fast break to make it 79-82. Jimmy missed three shots on the next possession. We got the rebound twice were even fouled but not enough fouls had bene called on Duke so we didn’t get to the line. Jeremy Roach hit a three to make it 79-85 and it was desperation time. We hurried up three pointers which were short, probably due to fatigue. Jimmy and Joe, (not the X’s and o’s)) both missed threes and Williams got a dunk. Then Swider and Girard missed and Williams was at the foul line to make 1 of 2 for the final score of 79-88. Sider missed another three and Bourama Sidibe couldn’t get high enough to tip the ball in. Duke declined to score further and all five SU players bent over or went to their knees in exhaustion, having earned the respect of everyone in the conference and the nation in a game that will go down, despite the loss as one of the greatest we have ever played.

- Jimmy Boeheim seemed to be channeling his brother Buddy, who was allowed to sit next to him on the bench. He hit 6 three pointers and scored a career high 28 points. While grabbing 7 rebounds, stealing the ball 3 times and recording two assists.

- Joe Girard, finally playing his natural position with Symir Torrance at the point, reverted to his high school form when he scored 50 points a game and led Glens Fall to the state title, carrying the team back into the game by himself, scoring all 10 points in the 10-0 first half run. He wound up with 23 points, 6 rebounds, (he ahs a knack for the long ones) a steal and a couple of assists.

- Torrence didn’t shoot well, going 2 for 9 but he dazzled with 11 assists vs. 2 turnovers (he’s 88-26 on the season) and pulling down 6 rebounds of his own. We’ll have other options next year but Torrence and Girard would make a good starting spot for our backcourt.

- Cole Swider recovered from his bad first half to score 15 points 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.

- We had no answer for Mr. Williams inside but Frank Anselem contributed 6 points, 4 rebs, a block and a steal.

- Two years ago we capped a mediocre season with a shocking 81-53 demolition of North Carolina, only to have the pandemic end the season. We’ve wondered since then if there would have been a carry-over of that level of play to the next game and a possible strong post-season run. This year we followed-up a 96-57 demolition of Florida State with a near-upset of a potential national champion when we seemed hopelessly short-handed. That gives us a clue as to what might have happened two years ago, (as does last year’s Sweet 16 run). What was it Jay Bilas said: “It’s tough to beat a believer”.

- This game gave the team and us a chance to end the season with a sense of pride in their efforts, rather than acrimony over their failures. I really think we have bottomed out and will be on the way back up next year.

16-17 and that appears to be it. ☹



Woman of a certain age
Aug 27, 2011
I am looking forward to next year and those last two games have made me feel better about this year than I would have thought possible. I pray you are right about bottoming out!

In the meantime, I just love those guys. :)


Hall of Fame
Sep 1, 2011
This game had to help recruiting. How can you not watch SU given all the emotion ,their playing without their key players, others stepping up etc. and not be totally impressed. The accolades that the announcers were giving the team. Despite the record SU is there when it counts. You got to want play on a team like this.

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