|1958-1959 Syracuse Orangemen|
Coach: Marc Guley
Optimism was high on the hill for the Orangemen to be one of the top ranked teams in college basketball. Co-captain Jon Cincebox was returning and was considered one of the best big men in the country, and Ed Goldberg provided a speedy presence at guard and a strong outside shooting game. Adding to the optimism was Pete Chudy, who the previous year had led the freshman team in scoring. Coach Marc Guley knew the team had some weaknesses, but agreed with most that this team could be special. Four of the starters from the previous season were returning, with co-captain Bruce Schmelzer and Tom Mossey joining Cincebox and Goldberg.
The Orangemen started out 3-0, and Cincebox scored 29 points in each of the games, and things looked like they were going well. Then the team unexpectedly lost three in a row. In a tournament in New York City, they lost to St. Joseph's in the first round, but then beat Cornell (whom they had just recently lost to) and a very good Holy Cross team. Chudy had replaced Hal Noyes in the starting lineup, to add some additional offense.
By mid January the team was 7-5, clearly not meeting the expectations set before them. One of the biggest issues was the lack of rebounding and size on the team outside of Cincebox. Cincebox was getting more than his share of rebounds, but other teams were out rebounding the Orangemen as a whole. And there was no depth behind Cincebox, so when he needed a break or was in foul trouble the team had serious problems. The team was also struggling to play solid defense. While they often had no problem scoring, they were having a tough time preventing other teams from scoring.
Adding to the mix, Goldberg was hurt (again), missing a few games and limiting his effectiveness in others while he recovered.
The team would hit a four game losing streak, and by February 12th, they were 7-9. The team finally started to come together after the losing streak. The offense kicked up a few notches, and the defense settled down. Chudy became more of the offensive mix, and the team worked on getting rebounds as a whole. The Orangemen would win their last 7 games of the season, to finish at 14-9. It ended up being a successful season, better than the previous year, though in all a disappointment based on initial expectations.
Cincebox would set a school record for rebounds, averaging nearly sixteen a game.
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