Basketball preseasons kickoff with Midnight Madness

Syracuse University hosted its annual Midnight Madness event Friday, effectively kicking off the 2011-12 seasons for the men's and women's basketball teams in an event that certainly didn't disappoint.

You can breathe now. The start of the college basketball year finally kicked off Friday night with Midnight Madness. 

Syracuse University hosted the event at the Carrier Dome where both the men and women’s teams displayed their talents along with many past players. The highly anticipated night marked the first time the men's and women's teams took the floor since heartbreaking postseason losses last spring. 

Photo: Luis Lopez
Check out the photo slideshow below with Midnight Madness shots by Phoenix Wang and Luis Lopez.

The estimated crowd of 14,000 was clearly involved throughout the whole night from when a Russian acrobat led off the night with rapper Meek Mill to start things off. The crowd grew louder when the players for both the women's and men’s team were announced. Past players such as Hakim Warrick, Andy Rautins and Wes Johnson drew roars from the crowd, but none was as loud as when Jim Boeheim introduced Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony not playing was a bummer for most. A chant of “We Want Melo!” developed during the end of the alumni game. The game proved its worth by giving fans something to cheer about as Donte Green and Jonny Flynn put on a highlight reel of dunks and passes. The blue team, led by Flynn, lost 44-42 on a last second 3-pointer by 1996 All-American John Wallace. 

Soon after, the men and women competed in a 3-point competition. Each team had three players. The women's team prevailed. 

The men then participated in a scrimmage in which a team of Brandon Triche, Fab Melo, Scoop Jardine, Mookie Jones and Kris Joseph won, 47-40. The game was highly paced with little to no defense being played, excluding Melo taunting Dion Waiters to drive on him.   

Getting more high action performances, the fans were treated to a slam dunk contest consisting of Waiters, Rakeem Christmas, James Southerland and Nolan Hart. Southerland stole the show with an off-the-backboard slam that created frenzy among the crowd. He was forced to throw down one more dunk in the final round but wasn’t up to the task as Waiters won. 

Meek Mill finished the night, singing with both the men and women’s team.  

Most fans found the night to be a success. With both the men's and women's opening games only weeks away, Midnight Madness only whet the Dome-faithful's appetite for basketball season to get underway.

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