Orange Madness kicks off Syracuse basketball season

The event featured scrimmages by both SU squads, along with a Legends Game, dunk contest, three-point contest and "selfie stations."

While Syracuse’s annual Orange Madness celebration didn’t feature Drake warming up on the court, there was certainly a lot of excitement at the Carrier Dome on Friday night. 

Men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim came out for introductions in a Humvee. Former Syracuse forward John Wallace proved that, even at 40 years old, he can still throw down a dunk. And 10-year-old Nicholas Trivelpiece made a shot in the final seconds of the men’s scrimmage game.   

Photo: Leonard Christopher
Syracuse sophomore basketball player Ron Patterson runs onto the court, while Otto the Orange dances encouragingly behind him.

But the night began with the introduction of the 2014-15 women’s basketball team.  

Junior guard Brittney Sykes, who tore her ACL in the 2014 NCAA tournament, was the last player to be introduced. Sykes ran onto the court and jumped onto the scorer’s table, waving her arms to pump up the crowd.  

Head coach Quentin Hillsman was introduced shortly after. He sat passenger-side in an Orange Cadillac that rolled up to the court. He then led the team in a short scrimmage highlighted by junior forward Taylor Ford’s seven points. 

Then Boeheim made his grand entrance. The Hall of Fame coach wore an army helmet and waved to fans while Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” blasted through the loudspeakers. 

After meeting the men’s team, fans saw a three-point contest and Legends Game that featured Wallace, Lawrence Moten, Pearl Washington and other Orange greats.  

Trevor Cooney drained 15 shots from behind the arc to defeat Brianna Butler in the three-point contest.  

Moten, Syracuse’s all-time scoring leader, fittingly delivered the first points of the Legends Game. However, Wallace stole the show as he hit several shots from behind the arc and threw down a monster jam to earn MVP honors.  

A scrimmage for this year’s SU squad was highlighted by the appearance of 10-year-old Trivelpiece. Trivelpiece, who has attended practices and games since 2009, has optic glioma, a type of brain tumor that affects the optic nerve.  

Trivelpiece entered the game in the last minute and missed a layup that was rebounded by Cooney. Cooney handed Trivelpiece the ball again for a second shot, and this time it floated right through the net as time expired. Cooney raised his arms in celebration and the players carried Trivelpiece off the court. 

Rakeem Christmas led all scorers with 16 points in the scrimmage, while Michael Gbinije provided thunder at the rim with a couple of slams. 

During the dunk contest, Gbinije was lifted into the air with the help of teammate DaJuan Coleman, but it wasn’t enough to steal victory from sophomore forward B.J. Johnson. 

As the night came to an end, many fans stopped at “selfie stations” set up behind the court to take pictures with their favorite coaches and players.  

Season kick-offs for both teams are less than one month away.  The men’s team opens exhibition play Nov. 2 against Carleton, while the women’s team starts Nov. 16 against Fordham.

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