Skip to main content

10 Moments That Prove That Syracuse Basketball Fandom Is The Best

It's a good time to be a Syracuse fan. Jim Boeheim's squad is number one in the country, and currently owns an undefeated 25-0 record. SU has pulled out back-to-back wins in ridiculous fashion, and seem to be rolling towards a top seed in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Cuse fans have had it good for a while; here are some of the moments that have captivated the Orange faithful for years.

10.) Tyler Ennis Knocks Off Pitt

Syracuse has struggled mightily against Pittsburgh over the last decade, so when the Orange traveled to Petersen Events Center with an undefeated record on the line, naturally some were apprehensive about the team’s ability to keep the streak going. Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis clearly had different thoughts. With the Orange down two to the Panthers with just 4.4 seconds remaining, Ennis got the ball up the court and hit a contested 35-footer to win the game for No. 1 Syracuse.

9.) John Thompson II Called For Three Technicals At The Carrier Dome

No Syracuse rivalry has the history as that with Georgetown, and things between the two programs hit a crescendo in an important March game at the Dome in 1990. Late in the first half, Hoya coach John Thompson received technical fouls from three different referees, which led to an automatic ejection from the game. Thompson, always one to play to the crowd, famously waved his signature towel to the Syracuse fans as he left the floor. Syracuse would go on to win a thrilling overtime game, and clinched the Big East regular season title.

8.) Jim Boeheim Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

While star players have come and gone, Jim Boeheim has been the constant of the Syracuse program since he first stepped on campus as a freshman in 1962. Boeheim has won over 900 games at his alma mater, with a number of conference titles and a National Championship to boot. He was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the 2005 class, which was surely a sweet moment for all long-time Orange fans.

7.) Sherman Douglas Has One of the Greatest Assists You’ll Ever See

Sherman Douglas may be the greatest point guard in Syracuse history, which is saying a lot considering some of the great points who have played for the Orange. He was a smooth, pure point guard who commanded some of the best teams in school history, from 1986-1989. In an early season game against Indiana in the fall of 1987, he threw this wild pass between his legs to a wide-open Stevie Thompson for an emphatic fast-break slam.

6.) Record Crowds At The Carrier Dome

No basketball arena in the country is quite like the Carrier Dome, and Syracuse fans prove it multiple times a year, packing 30,000+ fans in to see the season’s most anticipated games. In recent years, Syracuse has broken its own record for NCAA On-Campus Basketball single-game attendance, most recently setting the mark during this season’s epic match-up against Duke, with 35,446 fans filling the Dome. Between the excellent game and incredible atmosphere, Jim Boeheim said after the game that he thought it may have been the best game ever played at the Dome.

 5.) Pearl Washington Hits A Game-Winning Half Court Shot Against BC

Dwayne “Pearl” Washington was one of the first true superstars to head up to Central New York for college ball, and he put on a show every time he stepped on the court in the Carrier Dome. No Pearl highlight is more famous than his half-court shot to beat rival Boston College 75-73.

4. John Wallace Leads Syracuse To The Championship Game in 1996

The 1996 Syracuse squad was not Jim Boeheim’s best by any measure, but they did provide one of the most memorable tournament runs in Orange history. Led by 22 point per game scorer John Wallace, four-seed Syracuse knocked off Montana State and Drexel before facing eighth-seeded Georgia in an epic overtime game that featured two buzzer-beaters by Syracuse. After knocking off Kansas in the Elite 8 and Mississippi State in the national semifinal, the Orangemen kept it close with a dominant Kentucky team that featured seven future NBA players. Unfortunately for Jim Boeheim’s club, Wallace fouled out with two minutes remaining, after scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, and Kentucky closed out the game for the National Championship.

3.) Gerry McNamara Dominates the Big East Tournament

Some of Syracuse’s best basketball moments came on the sport’s biggest stage—the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. In 2006, Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara captivated the sports world with four straight days of incredible performances, propelling nine-seed Syracuse to a Big East Tournament title. McNamara averaged 16.3 points and 8.3 assists per game during the four game, hitting two game-winning shots as well as dishing a game-winning assist, and a massive number of other big plays during the run. McNamara was named tournament MVP after the epic run.

2.) The Six-Overtime Game

The Syracuse-UConn rivalry was one of the best in college basketball in the 1990s and 2000s, and the two teams took part in what many consider one of the greatest basketball games ever played. At the very least, it was one of the most eventful. In the Big East Tournament quarterfinals, underdog Syracuse powered through a waved-off buzzer-beater by Eric Devendorf that appeared to win the game for the Orange in regulation, and six overtimes before taking control and beating the Huskies deep into the night, 127-117.

1.) “The Block”

Syracuse basketball’s lone NCAA Championship came on one huge play by Orange star Hakim Warrick. With Syracuse leading 81-78 with just over three seconds remaining in the game, Kansas guard Kirk Hinrich faked a long three and swung the ball to a seemingly-open Michael Lee in the corner, who rose up to attempt to knock down the game-tying shot. Warrick came out from the paint and extended to make the epic block, securing the National Championship for Syracuse.