|1952-1953 Syracuse Orangemen|
Coach: Marc Guley
Syracuse graduated four of its top six scorers from the previous year, including center Ed Miller. Senior co-captain Bill Manikas was going to be counted on to help run the offense, and co-captain Frank Reddout was going to have to help replace Miller's presence up front. Junior Mel Besdin was a nice shooter to help with the offense. Junior Pat Stark would be able to help, but he would not be able to join the team until football season was over. Coach Marc Guley was going to have to rely on sophomores to help pick up a lot of the playing time. David Kline would be counted on to play center, while Skip Thaw, Ronnie Kilpatrick and Jack Larned were to come off the bench.
Syracuse opened its season with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Canisius. The Griffins led 32-22 with fifteen minutes left in the game. Guley had made some defensive adjustments for the Orangemen at halftime, clogging up the middle of the court, and that started to pay off. The Orangemen would rally to win 78-73 behind a strong second half by Reddout.
The Orangemen would then lose six of their next seven games, none of them by a close margin. Manikas would severely turn his ankle in the second game of the season, and he would miss the rest of the year as a result. Thaw would move into the starting lineup to replace him. The team was struggling to find a combination of players that was cohesive on offense and defense. Guley would use five different starting lineups in those seven games, with very little success. The team's record would drop to 2-6.
The Orangemen would surprise Army on January 30th, jumping out to an early large lead, and holding the lead throughout the game. Syracuse played a frantic hustling style for most of the game, and it paid off with the win, snapping a five game losing streak.
Syracuse would visit Cornell next. The Orangemen played Cornell tough for the first half of the game, but Cornell's zone defense stifled the Orangemen's fast break efforts, and the Big Red eventually pulled out to a big lead. the Orangemen would rally towards the end of the game but Cornell held on to win 69-65.
Syracuse would take on #17 Holy Cross on February 7th. Reddout would lead the way to a major upset with a 29 point effort. Guley had reserve guard Bill Nelson play significant time as a defensive effort, with him playing tight defense on the Crusader's star guard Earle Markey, rattling him all game into poor play. The Orangemen would lead big for most of the game, and win 86-78.
The Orangemen next took on #17 ranked Niagara. The Orangemen would again win 86-78 behind a career high 31 points by Besdin who was quite proficient with his set shot. The game was tied at 70, when the Orangemen went on a run to make it 78-70 with three minutes to go. Despite the fact that Reddout, Thaw and Nelson all fouled out in the closing minutes, the Orangemen were able to hold on for their second consecutive victory against a ranked team.
Syracuse would take on rival Colgate next. The Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead, but early in the third quarter the Orangemen tied the game up. Colgate would turn up its defensive pressure, and Orangemen collapsed. The Red Raiders would outscore the Orangemen 31-18 in the fourth quarter, as Colgate scored 100 points for the first time in school history, routing Syracuse 106-88.
The Colgate loss would be the first of three straight, with the Orangemen losing close games to Penn and Penn State, dropping the team record to 5-10.
Syracuse would trail Canisius 10-1 early, before Reddout started dominating the boards and putting on a fine offensive display. Reddout would lead the Orangemen to an easy victory behind a career high 40 points, tying the school record set by Ed Miller the previous season.
Syracuse would lose to rival Colgate 89-84, in front of the largest Syracuse home crowd of the season, 1,853 fans. Colgate led throughout most of the game. The Orangemen had a chance to cut the Colgate lead to 1 point with a minute to go, when Reddout was fouled. However, the big man would miss both of his free throws, and on the ensuing play, Colgate's John Antoine would make both of his free throws, sealing the victory for the Red Raiders.
Syracuse would beat Cornell in the last game of the season, in a very sloppy game. Cornell was playing a tight zone defense, and in the third quarter the Orangemen were refusing to play against it. Skip Thaw held the ball for four minutes before the Orangemen finally conceded and tried to score. The two teams combined to miss the last nine free throw attempts of the game, with the Orangemen winning 66-57.
Team ended the season 7-11, the worst record for the Orangemen since 1944-1945 when the team resumed play after World War II. The team battled foul trouble and poor foul shooting all year, along with inconsistent offensive and defensive play.
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