Saturday’s regular season finale marks Senior Day for the dynamic duo of Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph. In honor of the moment The Fizz decided to countdown the top 5 Syracuse Senior Day moments.
5. 1999-2000: Senior Class – Jason Hart, Ryan Blackwell, Etan Thomas.
The Game: Feb. 27, 2000 v. Georgetown. Syracuse held Georgetown to 18-58 shooting and dominated the Hoyas 67-52 sending these seniors out on a good note.
The trio combined to average almost 36 points as seniors and led Syracuse to the Sweet 16, before falling to eventual national champs Michigan State. The Orangemen started the season 19-0 and spent the entire season in the top 25, reaching as high as 4th in the country. Hart and Thomas were first team All-Big East, while Blackwell was 3rd team.
4. 1989-1990: Senior Class – Derrick Coleman, Stephen Thompson.
The Game: March 4, 1990 v Georgetown. In front of 33,000 at the Dome Syracuse and Georgetown played an epic that went into OT. Georgetown coach John Thompson was ejected late in the first half, delighting the crowd. Finally Syracuse was able to hold off Georgetown 89-87 behind a huge performance from Coleman, who finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, while Thompson had 15.
This was one of Jim Boeheim’s best teams ever. Coleman and Thompson both put up nearly 18 a game in their senior years, and Coleman would become the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. SU spent time in the top 5 during the season and but would eventually be upset by Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament.
3. 1965-1966: Senior Class – Jim Boeheim, Dave Bing, Sam Penceal, Norm Goldsmith.
The Game: March 5, 1966 v Colgate. This was a powerful offensive team that needed 124 points against Colgate to become the first team ever to average 100 points a game. The Orangemen amazingly almost reached it, coming up just one basket short, winning 122-88. NBA Hall of Famer Bing had 31 points and 12 assists on a team that featured the future HOF coach of the Orange.
After closing out Senior Day in style, the Orangemen would fall short in the Sweet 16 against Duke in the NCAA Tournament. Regardless nobody can question the impact this class had on the court and the excitement they brought to SU.
2. 1988-1989: Senior Class – Sherman Douglas, Herman Harried.
The Game: March 5, 1989 v Georgetown. Just like the ’89-’90 team, this was supposed to be the SU squad to redeem the heart-breaking loss to Indiana in the 1987 title game. SU and Georgetown both entered the game in the top 10 (#6 SU and #2 Georgetown). The Orangemen fell behind the Hoyas by 14 with 12 minutes left in the second half before staging a legendary rally and eventually taking the lead. The game would go into overtime in front of a then record crowd of 32,683. Syracuse would eventually pull it out with the unforgettable Douglas reverse dunk to cap the victory.
School legend Douglas led the team in scoring putting up 18 a game his senior year and helping lead the Orange to the Elite 8. The Orangemen got close, but eventually fell to Illinois in one of the toughest losses in school history before it could reach the Final Four, and Douglas headed off to the NBA.
1. 2005-2006: Senior Class – Gerry McNamara.
The Game: March 5, 2006 Syracuse v Villanova. Syracuse entered the game struggling and on the outside of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Villanova was #4 in the country. This. however, was G-Mac’s day as a record crowd of 33,633 came to send off the fan favorite, including buses from his hometown of Scranton. His 130th consecutive start was honored with a huge pre-game ceremony. Derrick Coleman had his jersey retired at half. McNamara didn’t disappoint with a game-high 29 points and the game was tight until the end. But the Wildcats would prove too much. However, it was an incredible day honoring one of SU’s most popular players ever.
Despite the loss to ‘Nova and struggling to an under .500 Big East record, Senior Day would set the stage for one of the most memorable postseasons in SU history. The Orange on a massive run, led by G-Mac, in the Big East Tournament. Syracuse cut down the nets at MSG as a 9 seed and entered the NCAA Tournament before losing to Texas A&M. McNamara put up 16 points and 6 assists his senior year. As Boeheim would unforgettably bark, SU wouldn’t have won 10 f***ing games without him.
What’s your favorite SU Senior Day memory?
Posted: Alex Plavin