|1951-1952 Syracuse Orangemen|
Coach: Marc Guley
Marc Guley lost his top top scorer Jack Kiley, plus two of his best defensive players from the previous season due to graduation. But the Guleymen had expectations for some success with the return of co-captains Big Ed Miller and Tom Huggins up front, and junior Frank Reddout to fill out the line. Scrappy Bucky Roche was the playmaker on offense and junior Bill Manikas completed the backcourt. The Orangemen would also open their new gymnasium, with Archbold Gymnasium opening January 12, 1952.
The season started off with a bang as Ed Miller became the first Orangeman to score 40 points in a game in the season opener 92-76 win at Canisius. Miller and the Orangemen were on a roll, and the team won the first five games of the season rather easily. The Orangemen would enter the AP polls at #19 in early January 1952, the first time Syracuse had ever been ranked.
They played Cornell in the sixth game, and the Redmen played the Orangemen tight. However, Bucky Roche came through big with 35 points to help the Orange win by 2. Miller added another 22 points in that game; he had scored 20+ points in five of the first six games, averaging 24 points per game., and Roche was averaging 18.8. Syracuse was leading the nation in scoring, and would rise to #14 in the polls.
Syracuse was a high scoring team, but a lot had to do with their defense. The Orangemen were very aggressive defensively, and that led to a lot of foul trouble among the starters, particularly Reddout, Roche and Miller.
Syracuse traveled down to Pittsburgh and would run into a Panther team playing very tough defense. Roche and Miller both struggled to score and the Orangemen suffered their first season loss 72-49. The Pitt loss was the first loss of five the Orangemen would receive in their next six games, as teams focused their defensive efforts on Miller, fouling him often so he had to shoot free throws, and not allowing him decent shots.
Reddout started to emerge as a top scorer and would lead the Orangemen in scoring four straight games. He would set a Syracuse school record with a 34 rebound effort against Temple. He would have 10 rebounds in the first quarter, and 20 at the half, both also school records. Reddout also added 18 points in the Orangemen's 64-47 win. Mel Besdin also started to develop as a solid offensive threat, scoring in double digits six of the final nine games.
Syracuse would lose to Colgate 71-58 as Roche was hurt in the first quarter of the came, and had to be carried off the court. That would be the Orangemen's last loss of the season as they would win their last six games of the season. Included in that run was a dramatic 76-72 double overtime win against #13 ranked Penn State. Syracuse trailed by 11 in the third quarter, but fought back to tie it up and actually had a chance to win in regulation, before missing a shot and going into overtime.
Syracuse would finish the season at 14-6, as one of the top scoring teams in the country, and for the first time had four guys who averaged 10+ points a game.
© RLYoung 2005, 2006, 2014