|1956-1957 Syracuse Orangemen|
|Overall||18-7||NCAA Tournament Elite Eight||Schedule Results|
Coach: Marc Guley
Syracuse was going to start the season with a veteran squad. The team did lose one of its best players as Jim Brown refused to come back because of disagreements with Coach Marc Guley on his playing time. Even with the loss of Brown, the team was comprised of veterans, with five seniors and a junior comprising the top six players. Sophomore center Jon Cincebox was joining the team, and the addition of his 6'7" frame was a welcome addition of height to a team dearly in need of it. Manny Breland returned to the guard position, after a year off due to illness.
Guley started the season off moving star Vinnie Cohen to guard, along with Breland, in order to get both Jim Snyder and Cincebox on the court. Big scorer and top free throw shooter Gary Clark was the other starting forward. However, the team started the season off struggling, losing its first two games and struggling in the next two wins.
Guley would move veteran Snyder to the bench as the first reserve, and inserted 5'7" sparkplug Vinnie Albanese in at guard, moving Cohen back to forward. The Orangemen would go on a roll winning eight in a row, and thirteen out of the next fourteen. The team was extremely effective at running the fast break, and seldom lost when they kept the pace up tempo. If opponents could slow them down, the team would struggle.
The Orangemen would go only seven men deep in many games. They had a strong 1-2 scoring threat in Cohen and Clark, both who consistently would lead the team in scoring. Cohen would score 30+ points five times, and Clark two times. Often that was the only real scoring they would get. Cincebox did a strong effort on the boards, especially early in the season. Both Breland and Albanese would spend their efforts on playmaking and defense, rather than scoring. Larry Loudis would join Snyder off the bench.
As the season progressed, the Orangemen struggled down the stretch, especially Cincebox. The Orangemen played well enough, however, to earn their first bid ever to the NCAA tournament. Snyder would move back into the starting lineup, replacing Cincebox.
In the first game they would meet Connecticut. The Orangemen would struggle in the game, but ultimately the 1-2 punch of Clark (26 pts) and Cohen (23 pts) would get them by.
The next round, they faced Lafayette. Cohen started scoring early in the game, but then would go cold for the rest of the night, scoring a season low 8 pts. Fortunately for the team, Clark had one of the best NCAA tournament performances an Orangemen would ever have, scoring 34 points on 13 of 20 shooting, and 8 of 10 from the line. Behind his effort, they barely got by Lafayette 75-71.
The next game to them to the Elite 8 against #1 ranked North Carolina, Albanese was unable to start due to injury sustained in the previous game. Guley instead went with a bigger lineup instead, starting Cincebox. The greater talent for the Tar Heels was evident however, as they pulled to a sixteen point lead in the second half. The Orangemen didn't do themselves any favors by making only 10 of 23 free throws, including missing several front ends of one-and-one opportunities. The Orangemen out rebounded Carolina by ten, but lost three players due to foul trouble. With the double digit lead, Carolina coach Frank McGuire went into the renowned Carolina four corner stall for the last twelve minutes of the game. Cohen would score 25 points in the losing effort; NCAA hero Clark, who had 60 points in the previous two games, struggled and finished with only 11.
The Orangemen had played a great season, earning their first NCAA bid and advancing three rounds to the Elite 8. Cohen would finish the season as the first Orangemen ever to score more than 600 points in a season, and the school's #2 all-time leading scorer.
© RLYoung 2005, 2006, 2008