|1985-1986 Syracuse Orangemen|
|Overall||26-6||NCAA 2nd Round||Schedule Results|
|Big East||14-2||Big East Regular Seasons Champions||Previous||Next|
Coach: Jim Boeheim
The Orangemen had high hopes on the season, with the Pearl at the point and Raf Addison moving to the shooting guard position. Wendell Alexis was finally earning a starting position after three seasons of stellar work off the bench, and hopes were the raw talent of Rony Seikaly would start to gel in the center position. Howard Triche was starting, Rodney Walker and Derek Brower provided some big bodies off the bench, and Greg Monroe and Michael Brown some sharpshooters from the bench.
The Orangemen started out 13-0, with several easy victories, among them were Big East foes Villanova, Boston College and Pittsburgh, and an easy victory over Navy. The Orangemen were running the fast break to perfection, and the team was making the high percentage shot. Addison would turn his ankle early in January, and while he did not miss any games, it would affect his play in the second half of the season. Alexis stepped up big, and was his usual dependable self. Seikaly, however, continued to be inconsistent, and very foul prone.
The Pearl played spectacular most the season, and stepped up his scoring when Addison was hurt. scoring 26 points against Seton Hall, 33 versus Villanova, and 27 against Providence. The Orangemen would end up at 14-2 in the conference (23-4 overall), and win the Big East Regular season title. In the Big East tournament, they easily rolled over Boston College before beating nemesis Georgetown in a nail biter 75-73. Then came the championship game against St. Johns. The Orangemen had an 11 point lead at halftime, but slowly watch the Redmen get back into the game. With 28 seconds on the clock and the Orangemen up by 1, the Pearl was fouled. Uncharacteristically, he missed the front end of the one and one. St. John's Ron Rowan sank a heart breaker with 9 seconds to go. Not to be undone, the Pearl did one of his classic coast to coast drives, and went to the hoop for the game winning layup. Unfortunately, the Redmen's Walter Berry was able to get a block of the shot, and the Orangemen fell short by one.
The NCAA tournament saw the Orangemen easily beat Brown in the first round. The second round saw them face a Navy team they had beaten earlier in the year. This time their fortunes were not so good, as midshipman David Robinson led the way with 35 points and 11 rebounds to an upset of the Orangemen, who struggled defensively all day. The game was tied 39-39 with 16 minutes to go, but Navy would score 65 points in the second half to run away with the game.
A few weeks later the Pearl would announce he was leaving school early, and Orange fans were disheartened with the loss of their star. Little did anyone know what the next season had in store.
©RLYoung 2005, 2006