|1964-1965 Syracuse Orangemen|
Coach: Fred Lewis
Expectations on the Orangemen were high as Fred Lewis' team returned all five starters and key reserves, including the dominating duo of Dave Bing and Chuck Richards, both whom had shattered Syracuse scoring records the season before. Plus the team had the addition of big men Rick Dean and Val Reid, both who had starred on the freshman team. The team was ranked #7 to start the season by the AP.
The first game against American University seemed to show the pollsters were correct as the Orangemen set a school record with 127 points and a 60 point margin of victory. Bing set a school record 11 assists and recorded a triple double (20 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists). However, the season then fell apart. A trip to Penn State resulted in a loss then a close game to Cornell. A five road trip to the state of Kentucky resulted in three losses to Kentucky, Louisville and Eastern Kentucky. They would lose to Bill Bradley and his Princeton team at the end of the month. By time they had reached their tenth game of the season, the team had a 2-8 record.
The schedule was rough, but the team was not playing well. Richards was playing passive on the court, Bing's shooting touch was slightly off, and most importantly the defensive effort for the team was not there.
Lewis would shift the line up around, trying to find the best combination. The team focused more on making Bing a focal point, and he provided dividends with high scoring efforts (three games with 30+ points including a then school record 45 vs Colgate in a triple overtime win), and tremendous passing to get his teammates involved. Rick Dean would shift to center for some games. Jim Boeheim and Rich Duffy would continue to provide solid guard play, and both would increase in their scoring efforts with the assistance of Bing. Norm Goldsmith, Val Reid and Phil Schoff would all occasionally start at the other forward position.
After losing his starting position, Richards starting playing more aggressive, and rejoined the starting five. The Orangemen would win 11 of their last 13 games, to finish the season at 13-10. A disappointing season overall, though a strong finish promised hope for the next season.
© RLYoung 2005, 2006