|1949-1950 Syracuse Orangemen|
Coach: Lew Andreas
It was coach Lew Andreas' 25th year at the helm of the Orangemen basketball team. The team lost big man Royce Newell and scorer Ed Stickel, but had a deep and talented squad returning. The question would be how well the players would develop. High scorer Jack Kiley returned as did defensive standout Dick Suprunowicz and a couple of speedy senior guards Bill Fash and Mike Stark. Stubby Miller was the team captain, and was slated to be a reserve most the season. In all there were eight seniors and six juniors on the squad. Big Ed Miller, at 6'8" was joining the squad, and hopefully would replace Newell.
The Orangemen would win their first six games of the season easily. They would struggle against Brown, but win a close game 54-52, raising the team record to 7-0. The Orangemen would then hit a rough patch, losing five of their next six, dropping their record to 8-5. And the next month's schedule did not look easy.
However, in February the Orangemen began playing well as a unit. They beat a tough Canisius team on the road, snapping the Griffins six game winning streak. They next would beat Niagara 60-55 behind Kiley's 24 points, snapping the Purple Eagles 51 game home court winning streak. The team would win six in a row before losing to Cornell. Ed Miller was developing into a solid player, though struggling with foul trouble. The Orange would win a few more and has a possibility of an NCAA berth, at 17-6, if they finished out strong. Unfortunately horrendous free throw shooting (15 of 37) cost them a two point loss to Colgate, and a one point loss to Canisius would wrap up the regular season.
The Orangemen did however earn a bid to the prestigious NIT tournament for the second time in school history. The first game in the tournament was going to be a tough one, with the Orangemen facing Long Island University. The Orangemen were heavy underdogs, yet they jumped out to an early 17-9 lead, and never looked back. Jack Kiley lead the way with 21 points, and Bob Savage added another 16 as they routed LIU 80-52 in front of a surprised Madison Square Garden crowd.
The next game saw the Orangemen face the #1 team in the nation, Bradley. Syracuse hung tough for the first 3/4 of the game, before the skilled passing of Bradley wore the Orangemen down. Syracuse did not help their own cause with horrible free throw shooting (again), as Bradley went on to win 78-66.
Lew Andreas announced his retirement from coaching, to focus on his athletic director responsibilities. The Andreas era had ended at Syracuse, a remarkable 25 year run at the helm that saw him go 358-134.
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