WAER sports coverage


The Hokie crowd erupted after Ron Patterson's two free throws clanked off the rim.  Suddenly, Syracuse's 22 point lead had dwindled down to two.  The Hokies, who couldn't buy a shot at times in the first half, couldn't miss in the final few minutes.  Virginia Tech had the momentum, the crowd behind them and, somehow, a one-possession game with four seconds left in the game.

Seth Goldberg (@sethgoldberg17)

If you ask Michael Gbinije to describe himself, he'd tell you he's a guard from Richmond, Va. But to the Orange, he's much more than that.

Gbinije is averaging 15.0 points over the past four games, and shoulders a lot of the team's ball handling responsibilities. He's also second on the team in assists per game, fourth in steals and tied for fourth in total rebounds.  

All while playing three positions.

It was another eye-opener for Syracuse's defense.  Except this time, it was a good thing.

After beating Long Beach State on Sunday, Jim Boeheim said his defense needed to play much better.   The Orange bounced back by holding Cornell to just 12 points in the first half on Wednesday night.

"We wanted to do a better job defensively, tonight," Boeheim said.   "I think we did."  

After a cold start to the season, Michael Gbinije has given the Orange a recent offensive spark with three straight games with at least ten points.

On Sunday, he gave the Carrier Dome crowd of 22,508 fans another reason to celebrate with a highlight-reel play midway through the first half.  Gbinije crept behind the defense, skied for the rebound and swung around the rim for a two-handed putback slam after Tyler Roberson's three bounced right above the basket.

Trevor Cooney went into the locker room at intermission with 14 points, a good blend of inside and outside shooting that's continued a recent resurgence.

By that point, he not only led Syracuse in points, but outscored the entire Colgate lineup.

Only 17 seconds separated Syracuse from its biggest win of the season.

The Orange held a five-point lead, on the verge of upsetting No. 7 Villanova in the Wells Fargo Center. Syracuse had withstood a second half onslaught by the Wildcats, foul trouble and 18 turnovers as a team. 

But it was the 19th turnover -- a botched inbounds play -- that turned the game out of Syracuse's control.  The Wildcats took control of the loose ball and JayVaughn Pinkston scored the game-tying field goal with four seconds left, just moments after Josh Hart sunk a three.

  What a difference a week makes.

Trevor Cooney exploded for a team-high 25 points, saving the Orange from an embarrassing home loss to Louisiana Tech.   It was a season-high for Cooney, just eight days after scoring a season-low two points against St. John's.

In that game, Cooney made just 1-of-6 shots, missed all four threes and continued Syracuse's miserable year of outside shooting.  In this one, he shot 4-8 from behind-the-arc, while taking over ball handling duties at points in the game.

The shooting struggles continued for Syracuse, but this time the Orange didn't wait until the final minute for a offensive meltdown.

Against Michigan, it was a pair of turnovers in the last 20 seconds that derailed the team's chance of upsetting the No. 17 Wolverines.

Against St. John's, the game hinged on the last five minutes and 34 seconds, a brutal stretch when the Orange only managed one field goal.


Jim Boeheim said that his team saved its best game for its best opponent. But his two freshmen saved their worst moments for the final minute against No. 17 Michigan.

The Orange had eliminated the Wolverines’ 10-point lead, tying the game with 56 seconds to play.  Then Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough both turned the ball over with less than 20 seconds left and Syracuse trailing by one. 

“You can’t do that and win games,” Boeheim said after the game.


The 2014 football season that began with a pair of wins for Syracuse came to a merciful end on Saturday with a fifth straight loss, a quarterback controversy and bunch of question marks heading into the offseason. 

Syracuse’s season finale concluded like so many other games throughout the year – good defense, bad offense and a few head scratching plays in between.