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Orange fans’ excitement reaches new level with Duke win, top ranking

With the Syracuse University men’s basketball team converting a win over Duke into a No. 1 national ranking, the excitement in the Hill neighborhood is electric.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – With the Syracuse University men’s basketball team converting a win over Duke into a No. 1 national ranking, the excitement in the Hill neighborhood is electric.

Business on Marshall Street is booming as fans young and old buy T-shirts and other accessories to highlight their Orange pride.

Among them is Denes Bazjak Sr. – who attended Syracuse University 50 years ago and watched a young Jim Boeheim lead the Orange to victory on the court in the 1960s.

Now he’s watching Boeheim do the same thing – only this time as a Hall of Fame coach.

Bazjak has seen a lot of changes in the program over the years – including seeing the team switch venues from Manley Field House to the Carrier Dome.

But Bazjak and his son say that the most impressive moment may have been watching SU thwart Duke.

“Just being there with 35,000 odd people there it was a great experience, it was surreal...the atmosphere was fantastic,” said Denes Bazjak Jr., who traveled from Canada for the game.

At Manny’s on Monday, fans were buying gear as they got ready to see the Orange play Notre Dame.

Members of Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney's family were among the many Orange fans on the Hill on Monday.

“It was pretty exciting Saturday night when we were out after the game with Trevor and we get the news Arizona loses. It was pretty awesome,” said John Cooney, one of the SU guard’s relatives.

Cooney’s grandfather – Michael Dunning – was in the crowd for the Orange’s win over Duke. He said the crowd was overwhelming.

“That was an explosion. I don't think I've ever heard anything like that when 35,000 people erupted as one…I will never forget that,” Dunning said.

Now, fans are setting their sights on Notre Dame – in hopes that SU will earn another “W” and retain its spot atop the polls.

“I just hope now for tonight’s game there isn't a little a let down after the big game on Saturday. It’s great to have them No. 1 that's for sure,” said Denes Bazjak Jr.

The Orange have a little history with the Fighting Irish.

The last time SU was ranked No. 1 was January 2012 – and the Irish upset them.

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