|1977-1978 Syracuse Orangemen|
|Overall||22-6||NCAA First Round||Schedule Results|
|'Louie 'n Bouie Show'||Previous||Next|
Coach: Jim Boeheim
Syracuse started the season with high expectations, coming off a 26-4 season, with several big men returning. The backcourt had graduated, but Jim Boeheim had senior Ross Kindel to play the point, and some young guards to help out (Eddie Moss, Hal Cohen and Marty Headd). It was the big men that had the pollsters excited, with Syracuse starting the year ranked between 5th and 11th, depending on the polls.
Senior Marty Byrnes was the leader, and he was surrounded by the sophomore duo of Louis Orr and Roosevelt Bouie. Boeheim wanted to keep the size on the court, so Dale Shackleford moved to the shooting guard position.
The Orangemen started the season off with a quick shocking loss to Dayton in their second game. The team regrouped and would go on to win their next eleven in a row. The team was dominating its opponents on the boards, and had tremendous depth, usually rotating ten to eleven players a game. The scoring was balanced. Byrnes was the "go to" guy down the stretch. And Bouie was the dominating defensive presence in the middle, closing down the interior game of the opposition.
During this stretch they played the first Carrier Classic, and met Michigan State and Magic Johnson. The Orangemen would win that tournament 75-67 behind the strong play of Byrnes. They later went to 'The Pit' in Albuquerque and beat New Mexico in a very exciting game as Kindel had a career high 23 points.
The Orange would lose a few more games during the regular season, but overall were well poised for the post season. In the ECAC tournament, disaster struck. The Orangemen lost to St. Bonaventure 70-69. Delmar Harrod would hit the game winning shot with 15 seconds left; Byrnes would get the ball for Syracuse and have the last shot (as he often did) and the ball rolled off the rim and out of bounds, giving the Bonnies the victory. Now the Orangemen would have to nervously wait and see if they would get one of the 12 at-large bids to the NCAA.
Fortune was on them (for a short period of time) as they got their 6th straight NCAA bid. Disaster struck again in the NCAA against Western Kentucky. The Orangemen had a five point lead with 54 seconds to go in regulation. Hal Cohen, the team hero up to that point, had scored 23 points, but picked up his fifth foul and was out of the contest. The Hilltoppers would tie up the game and send it to overtime. In the extra period Western Kentucky had a one point lead as time was running out. Once again, the Orangemen ran a play to have Byrnes take the last shot. Byrnes drove to the hoop, made the basket and was fouled. The Orangemen were jubilant.
Then the second referee overruled the original call, saying the basket did not count. Byrnes had to go to the line for a one and one. One free throw would tie the game, the second would win. Byrnes took his shot, and like Rudy Hackett a few seasons before, Byrnes missed the shot. Western Kentucky grabbed the rebound and won the game 87-86. Senior Ross Kindel who had played so solid all season was held scoreless in both post season games. Had the Orangemen won, they would've met Michigan State, who they had beaten earlier in the season. The Spartans would go on to win the national championship.
A promising season, which had several notable wins, had ended shorter than expected.
©RLYoung 2005, 2006, 2007