|1955-1956 Syracuse Orangemen|
Coach: Marc Guley
Syracuse had finished the previous season strong, and was scheduled to return its top six scorers, so there was optimism on campus. It was going to be a team lacking in height, with no player taller than 6'5", but they had a lot of speed and muscle. Unfortunately, playmaker Manny Breland had tuberculosis, and would end up missing the entire season.
Vinnie Cohen was returning and was joined by Gary Clark in the front court. Junior Jim Snyder was poised to become the every-game center. The backcourt would be comprised of Jim Brown and team captain Ron Gillespie. Vinnie Albanese and Larry Loudis would provide depth at the guard, and Gary Evans at the forward position.
The Orangemen would stumble out of the gate with a 87-75 loss to Canisius. Coach Marc Guley would shake up his lineup, and insert diminutive Vinnie Albanese at guard, bringing Snyder off the bench. The Orangemen would win three games rather handedly before heading out west to the Sugar Bowl basketball tournament. The trip would not be kind to Syracuse, as they would lose to Holy Cross and LaSalle in the first two games of the tournament, beating Fordham in the last game. The lack of height hurt Syracuse when they were playing the taller squads in the tournament. The Orangemen would come back east with a record of 4-3.
Syracuse would then go on an impressive streak winning seven of their next games, four of those wins on the road, bringing their record up to 11-4. The streak was highlighted by a 96-94 overtime win against Cornell with Snyder leading the way with 37 pts. The Orangemen would meet Holy Cross again, and again would lose easily, 100-85 as the Crusader's Tom Heinsolm scored 30 points.
Syracuse would beat rival Colgate, and then a big night by Snyder (34 points) and Jim Brown (23 points) over Penn State put Syracuse at 13-5. They had some 'easy' games coming up and thoughts of post season play were on the minds of the fans and players.
Things did not work out right for the Orangemen. Snyder came down with the flu, and would not start against Niagara. The Orange fell behind early, and got back into the game with late scoring efforts from Brown and Snyder (off the bench). Albanese would score a basket to tie up the game at 80-80 with time running out. Unfortunately, those were the last points Syracuse would scored as Niagara won 86-80.
The next game they would fall behind Colgate 21-5. The Orangemen would fight back and make it a close game in the second half, but eventually, would lose out to the Red Raiders 73-67. They would lose their third in a row with another upset loss at home, this time to Canisius 76-73. The Orangemen's post season chances were smashed.
Syracuse would play Rhode Island on the last game of the season, beating them 106-82, tying the school record for most points in a game. Cohen would lead the team in scoring, and five players would finish the season in double digit scoring.
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