Before I talk about the Maryland game, I have to discuss a rather disturbing timeout routine featuring our beloved Otto. This may have been going on all year but Tuesday was the first night I witnessed it. Luckily on Thursday I was watching for it so that I could document it on
film digital media. The camera’s zoom is not very good so the image is awfully grainy, but here you go. See if you can figure out what is going on here over by the Mastercard logo:
Yes, that is a straw. Otto is being sucked dry by a female fan in the front row. The routine goes, Otto trots up and down the sideline looking for a fan willing to perform the act. Then he whips out his straw, plunges it into his side and offers himself to the fan. The fan then gleefully sucks on Otto while he writhes in ecstacy, eventually collapsing on the floor in front of the fan, exhausted and with juices spent. Draw your own conclusions. Please.
Now, about the game itself…
I was worried for a minute there. I was worried that I’d have to go back to College Park this weekend and get dumped on by all my colleagues there who know of my Syracuse fanhood. But the Orange put together one of their more complete and well-balanced games of the season. After several early turnovers of the Robert Morris variety, and some lack of effort on defense and on the boards, things began to click for the Orange midway through the first half. They had a rough patch in the last two minutes of the first half and the first few minutes of the second, but they stabilized and began to slowly pull away, eventually building and maintaining a double-digit lead for the last 8 minutes or so.
All 7 guys contributed positively to this game. Kristof had a lot of hustle moments; Rick Jackson played solid defense and even hit a pair of free throws late (one off the glass); Scoop played within himself (mostly) and hit some key buckets in the first half; Arinze had dunk after dunk on the inside, and became a rebounding force late in the game; Harris bulled his way to the foul line repeatedly, and did a great job hounding Grievis Vasquez at the top of the zone, forcing UMD’s leading scorer into an off night; Donte Greene hit big baskets early to keep the game close, then also big baskets late (unlike last game when he mostly disappeared in the last ten minutes) to fend off any hope of a comeback.
But the night belonged to Jonny Flynn. He dominated play for long stretches of the second half, stretches during which SU slowly but surely built up their margin. He was hitting threes left and right, driving the lane and finishing or dishing to guys who were then finishing. He also made one of the sickest fast-break passes I’ve seen in a while for a ridiculous Donte Greene tomahawk dunk — if you didn’t see the game on ESPNU you owe it to yourself to look up the highlights online. I’m currently watching them on WTVH-5 and the play looks nearly as good on TV as it did coming directly at my face as I sat in the stands. He was 8-11 from the field, inside and outside, he simply did it all tonight. And with a still-sore back! I will reiterate my claim from the first game of the season: Jonny Flynn is the ballz.
Update: the Flynn-to-Greene play was the #1 play on the overnight Sportscenter Top Ten Plays countdown thingy. So you should get a chance to see it on any of the half-dozen episodes of SC that run in the morning hours, and maybe on the ESPN website at some point, and definitely on YouTube before long.
The atmosphere at the Dome was once again fantastic. And I once again took photos. There were close to 15,000 people on this night, and they were completely into it. Loud for most of the night, up on their feet over and over again. My mom (who accompanied me to the game) was actually hoarse by the end of it from all the shouting. This shot is from the first half — you can see a lot of folks up in the third deck which was nearly bare for the Robert Morris game:
Can anyone explain to me why there is always someone sitting in the last row of the top deck?
Plenty of awesomely dressed fans, such as this guy:
If you want to dress like that too, they’ve begun to sell the wigs:
This usher was routinely exhorting the crowd to get on its feet:
As was this ESPNU cameraman, coming out of one of the commercial breaks:
And finally: There was a Kodiak Bear sighting at the Dome tonight! Again, crappy zoom, so you may have to take my word for it, but it’s true:
As I was leaving the Dome I even passed a guy whose shirt had been signed by Terrence. Good to see he has not vanished from the face of the earth. If I’d been in that section I would have asked him why he never made it to that Greek team last fall… but no.