Boeheim wins 900th career game

With a 72-68 victory over Detroit Monday night, the No. 3 Orange improve to 10-0 on the season, and head Coach Jim Boeheim became the third all-time winningest coach in NCAA men's Div. 1 history with his 900th career win.

There are heroes, and there are legends. Jim Boeheim is a legend.

After Monday night's 72-68 victory over the University of Detroit Titans (6-5), Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim reached the pinnacle of 900 wins, a feat only accomplished by two other Division 1 men's basketball coaches: Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski. However, Boeheim is the first to do it while coaching at only one school.

When the No. 3 Syracuse Orange men's basketball team (10-0) took on Detroit, people across the United States knew that Boeheim was about to win his 900th game. With just over eight minutes left, Carrier Dome officials began handing out paper heads on a stick in the likeness of Boeheim. At this point, Syracuse held an 18 point lead. A win was at hand, victory was in sight.

But the Orange let up a little down the stretch and turned the ball over far too many times. With 29 seconds left in the game, Syracuse saw its lead fall to three. A game that the Carrier Dome staff deemed a vistory at eight minutes was now a possible defeat.

“They hesistated for about 32 minutes, and then they started to go,” Boeheim said of the Titans. “We weren't prepared; we thought we had control of the game. It's a good lesson to learn; you never have control of the game.”

Sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams was fouled three times in the final 27 seconds, but stayed composed and drained five of six free throws.

“As a point guard and as a leader on this team, I'm going to want the ball in my hands at the end of the game,” Carter-Williams said.

“The whole season he has carried this team,” senior guard Brandon Triche said.

Triche, who leads the team in scoring with 15.3 ppg, had an off day, scoring only seven points, with four rebounds (all offensive) and only one assist. He also fouled out with a minute and a half left in the game.

Although the 9-of-10 free throw shooting allowed Carter-Williams to score 12 points--the second half of his double-double with his 10 assists--the sophomore struggled against his opponent, Ray McCallum, Jr. Carter-Williams was just 1-for-6 from the field, including 1-for-4 from behind the arc. Carter-Williams also turned the ball over six times.

Senior forward James Southerland had another impressive showing, especially from behind the arc. Southerland led all scorers with 22 points, including five three-pointers. Sophomore forward Rakeem Christmas was 3-for-4 from the field for seven points in 19 minutes, and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.

When it was over, the Orange came away with a 72-68 victory in what turned out to be the closest game of their season.

“Hopefully we learn from that [game],” Boeheim said. “There's going to be a lot of games where we would be happy to have a six or eight point lead.”

Boeheim spoke about how teams often need to lose to learn something, to realize something they must work on.

“This game felt like a loss,” Boeheim said. “Which is good to feel like it is [a loss], but it isn't.”

900 Wins

Jim Boeheim was surprised to find former teammate, roommate, and lifelong friend Dave Bing in the lockerroom prior to the game.

“One of our managers actually picked him up right before the game from the airport,” Triche said of Bing, a Hall of Famer, who he shook the hand of but was unable to speak to. “Coach didn't know he was going to be here...To able to show support and show support for Coach Boeheim means a lot; to come in here and show your support shows the support and school spirit you get from the alumni.”

“Nobody would've thought when we came here 50 years ago that either one of us would've had the kind of success we've had,” said Bing, who is currently the Mayor of Detroit, the city from which Boeheim's 900th win opponent is located.

“I had the date circled in my calender,” Bing said. “There was no way, regardless of what was going on in Detroit, that I was going to miss this. I wanted to share this with him.”

Bing received an enormous standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd, a moment only made possible by the 900-win opportunity.

“It's pretty unbelievable,” Trevor Cooney said of the accomplishment. “That's the reason you come to a program like Syracuse: to play for a great coach like [Boeheim].”

Boeheim was his usual calm self, claiming the accomplishment was not as big of deal as everyone else thought it was.

“This team is what you've got to focus on,” Boeheim said. “If you return and you have 820, what's the difference? To me, it does not matter. The only number that matters to me is how this team does.”

“He told us, 'we're going for our tenth win, our tenth win; don't thing about 900',” Triche said.

Boeheim's post-game press conference touched on many topics, including the decline of print newspaper, including The Post-Standard’s recent reduction in in home delivery of newspapers. He noted that he would be the most affected by The Post-Standard's move to three days a week because he reads the newspaper everyday and does not own a computer.

Boeheim also used his historic accomplishment and national media coverage to talk about gun control in America, stating, “If we in this country, as Americans, cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society.”

Boeheim's 900th win puts him third all-time, just two behind Bob Knight's 902.

“I am so pleased and proud of him,” Bing said. “He has proven that he is one the best coaches ever in college basketball. Not only has he won games, but he's developed young men.”


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