SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – This season was full of up and downs for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Orange men ended the season 18-14 and the SU women finished the season at 16-15.
Both teams didn’t reach their own expectations, but they still provided some exciting moments. Here is Darius Joshua’s top five Syracuse games from the 2019-20 season.
5. 2/8/20 – Syracuse 75, Wake Forest 73
Syracuse was in trouble with Quincy Guerrier and Bourama Sidibe fouling out on back-to-back plays. Marek Dolezaj then picked up two fouls later in the second half including a technical foul that sent him to the bench. In relief, Brycen Goodine and Jesse Edwards had to play the final 5:42 of the game. Their statistical input was small, combining for just 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 16 total minutes. But each play was needed. With the game tied at 73, the now transferring Goodine rebounded a missed Elijah Hughes jump shot attempt to score the game winning basket with a second to play.
4. 2/9/20 – Syracuse women’s basketball 59, No. 5 Louisville 51
The very next day, the Syracuse women’s team made history. The Orange took down then fifth-ranked Louisville 59-51. Kiara Lewis had a game-high 24 points to lead the way. It was SU’s first win over a top-5 opponent at home since 1996. Syracuse led by as much as 13 in the final quarter. The win also served as Coach Quentin Hillman’s 300th win of his career.
3. 1/11/20 – Syracuse 63, Virginia 55 OT
Back in January, the Syracuse men’s team was in need of signature wins. Syracuse headed on the road to No. 18 Virginia looking to get one. The Orange scored just 19 second half points but headed to overtime with Virginia tied at 43. In the OT, SU erupted on offense for 20 points. Syracuse hit five of its 12 threes in overtime to pull away. When it came to resume building wins, this is the first one on the list.
2. 1/2/20 – Syracuse women’s basketball 90, No. 8 Florida State 89 OT
This game led to one of the best plays inside the Carrier Dome all season. ‘The Napkin Play’. Hosting an undefeated eighth-ranked Florida State team, Syracuse had its hands full. Digna Strautmane came up with two key plays in the final seconds to send the game to OT. First a three to tie the game at 81, then a key block to not allow FSU a chance to win in regulation. In the overtime, both teams went back and forth but Syracuse was down one with .8 seconds on the clock. Coach Hillsman drew up a play that is now referred to as the ‘Napkin Play’ because he drew it up on a napkin at an Outback a few years prior. Teisha Hyman delivered a great lob to the rim on an inbounds play and Emily Engstler sunk it at the buzzer. At the time, it was SU’s first win over a top-10 opponent since 2016.
1. 3/11/20 – Syracuse 81, North Carolina 53
This last game is at the top of the list for the lasting memory it would leave. Syracuse headed to Greensboro for the ACC tournament to face North Carolina, a team that was on a nine-game winning streak in head-to-head matchups; including a 92-79 win inside the Carrier Dome on 2/29/20. But the Orange had the answers to solve the Tarheels riddle from the start. Four starters scored in double figures led by a game-high 27 from Elijah Hughes and SU won by almost 30. This not only ended up being the last game of the season because of the cancelling of the tournament due to the Coronavirus but it also could be the last time All-ACC first team selection Elijah Hughes wore an Orange uniform.