Gee-Gees lose 73-50 to Syracuse University in pre-season exhibition
Marc Jan | Fulcrum Staff
Photos by Marta Kierkus
THE MEN’S BASKETBALL Gee-Gees kicked off the pre-season with three NCAA exhibition matches against the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs, the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Syracuse Orangemen on Aug. 9, 22 and 24.
After winning their first game against TCU—the third of the Gee-Gees total NCAA victories, with a 101–92 win—the Badgers thwarted the Gees in the second game.
The Syracuse Orange faced the Gee-Gees on Aug. 24 after a 69–65 win against Carleton on Aug. 23. The exhibition matches were played with two 20-minute halves instead of quarters and had a 30-second shot clock instead of 24 seconds.
After a rough start—the Gees fouled by Syracuse—the Gee-Gees trailed one point behind the Orange with 10 minutes left in the first half. Syracuse’s DaJuan Coleman stood a clear few inches above the Gees’ Vikas Gill and forced his way to the net. The Syracuse players did not hesitate to use their size and height to their advantage.
On offense, the Gee-Gees had a hard time pushing through to the net, a fact reflected in their 34 shot attempts and 19 three-point shot attempts. Syracuse also gave some points away with fouls, allowing the Gees seven free throws. By the half, the Gee-Gees only trailed by six points.
“It was what I expected,” says Mehdi Tihani, a first year forward for the Gee-Gees studying international economics. “We knew it was going to be a battle. They’re just such a big team—they’re also long.”
The Gee-Gees scored two points during the first seven minutes of the second half.
“We lost our focus defensively and offensively during that stretch,” said Gees’ head coach James Derouin. “We were just too casual. Maybe we were just too happy being close at half time. Instead, we should’ve been dissatisfied and trying to win the game.”
Syracuse pressed their advantage to the fullest despite losing a fair amount of turnovers in transition. The Gee-Gees missed more than three-quarters of their shots during the whole game.
“We got the ball inside a little better—that was important,” said Syracuse’s head coach James Boeheim. “Defensively, we forced people to take tough shots.”
“I thought our kids competed hard and that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Derouin. “[Syracuse] has a great team, it’s a testament to their defense for sure.” The Gees were without starting point-guard Michael L’Africain. Instead, forward Mehdi had to play 36 minutes and he was visibly gassed at the end.
Gees’ rookie Nick Jordan who is in his first year in computer science, was on fire. He only played for the final two minutes of the game, but managed to swing three turn-arounds on defense and contributed two points for the Gee-Gees. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to secure them the win and the game ended with a final score of 73–50 in favour of the Orange.