Bryant grabs its second win over a Power Five team, while a 47-year veteran head coach is turning heads with his comments. GRAPHIC: Bryant Athletics
In November of 2020, all bets were off. College basketball was just returning from a long hiatus & delay to action after the Covid-19 pandemic plagued schools nationwide. But nonetheless, Syracuse had Bryant to the then-Carrier Dome for their opening day game.
By the skin of its teeth, Syracuse held off Bryant, with Mike Green III's jumper falling just short at the horn. The Orange won 85-84.
This year, Bryant wouldn't be denied.
The Bulldogs, now 5-1 on the year, came out on the right side of a 73-72 contest in upstate New York on Saturday. They led 40-29 at halftime, didn't relinquish the lead until there were less than 4 minutes in the second half, and had four players in double-figures. All in all, it was a team effort to take care of business against the Orange - fresh off a loss to St. John's in the Empire Classic - on Saturday.
Sherif Gross-Bullock, who we've crowned the Rhode Island Hooper of the Week, makes a claim to defend his title in Week 3. He hit a runner with less than 1 second left. It bounced off the rim, rattled around, and fell straight through.
Doug Edert & Judah Mintz both ejected after scuffle
This game wasn't without its ill-will, however. Judah Mintz got rung up for a charge against Gross-Bullock, and afterwards he got tangled up with Edert. You can see him slap Doug in the face...and Doug took offense to it & retaliated.
A tough situation that's inexcusable on both sides, it's difficult to place blame or fault. Bryant supporters argue it was Mintz who inflamed the situation, while many rushed to Mintz's support, having called him the victim. It ultimately resulted in 3 ejections for Bryant & 1 for 'Cuse, including both Mintz & Edert.
Commentary corner: Jim Boeheim needs to apologize or retire...or, preferably, both
A situation with some history resurfaced on Saturday. After the game, a few players - from both sides - didn't come out for the handshake line. And Jim Boeheim was not happy about it.
Boeheim went so far as to slander Jared Grasso after the game, saying a sarcastic apology "fits him."
To provide some context as to this comment's significance, here's an excerpt from the Providence Journal's Bill Koch's recap from the November 2020 game.
The Orange looked every bit like a team coming out of an extended pause after head coach Jim Boeheim tested positive for COVID-19. Boeheim told the Syracuse radio broadcast in a halftime interview that the game should have been canceled or rescheduled.
“They decided not to move it,” Grasso said. “I know I'm not supposed to say that. (Boeheim is) a Hall of Fame coach. I'm a nobody. But the reality is we tried to change the date and give them the opportunity to change the date.
“They decided not to. They decided to play. Is that the reason we should have beat them? If they want to use that as an excuse, they can. But we came up here and we should have beat Syracuse at Syracuse. It's hard for me not to be blunt. I apologize.
“I would have wanted to cancel the game if I was in their shoes. They didn't want to cancel the game. They made that decision. We came up here to play and came up here to win and deserved to win. We didn't make enough plays to.”
That's right...Jim Boeheim - the lauded, Hall of Fame coach with dozens of NBA alumni over the years - misrepresented a situation to the media. Which, of course, over his career, he's proved is par for the course.
You have to wonder what Boeheim stands to gain now in slandering an up-and-coming mid-major coach. What does calling Jared Grasso "sarcastic" do for him, or for the game? He is resorting to excuse-making and taking drastic offense to the smack-talk that Bryant has notoriously developed a reputation for.
Let's not forget, Eric Devendorf and Jerry McNamara were two of the biggest smack-talkers in the game when they wore the Syracuse orange-and-white in the mid-2000s. Did he not come to their unrelenting defense? Or did he just decide to forget about this crucial point of Syracuse basketball because it doesn't fit his narrative?
It's time for Boeheim to be accountable for his words, although he'll never admit any wrongdoing. Is that the example he should be setting as a leader of young men?
And, if he can't even apologize...it's time for the 78-year-old to call it quits on his far-too-overstayed career.