|1971-1972 Syracuse Orangemen|
|Overall||22-6||NIT Tournament||Schedule Results|
Coach: Roy Danforth
|Greg 'Kid' Kohls||Sr||G||28||28||263||610||43.1%||222||257||86.4%||108||94||79||2||748||26.7||3.9||3.4|
“Roy’s Runts" would take the court for the 1971-1972 season. 6’11” Bill Smith had graduated, and the Orangemen would start no player taller than 6’5”. The Syracuse front line was 6’5” Bob Dooms at center, 6’3” Mike Lee at one forward and 6’1” Mark Wadach at the other forward. Sharpshooter Greg Kohls was now a senior and the returning big scorer, and was going to be leaned on for a lot of points. Flashy sophomore Dennis Duval joined the squad and took over the point guard position.
Syracuse started the season 6-0, mostly on the back of Kohl’s scoring as he average 29.5 points for those first six games. He scored a career high 37 against Cornell on December 9 th.
Syracuse would lose its first game of the season to American University. The Orangemen could not contain the Eagle's Kermit Washington who scored 19 points, pulled down 22 rebounds and blocked 8 shots. The Eagle defense was tough, and Kohls struggled to get 19 points. The bright side for the Orangemen was Dooms who pulled down 18 rebounds in his battle with Washington.
Syracuse would face #19 Louisville in the ECAC Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. The much taller Cardinals would rout the Orangemen 103-81, though Kohls did put up 34 points. Syracuse would beat Duke and Penn State in the other two games in the tournament.
The Orangemen would have their biggest win of the year on January 8 th, beating #17 St. John’s 86-33 on the road. Again, Kohl’s led the way with 33 points, despite picking up his fourth foul with 17 minutes left in the game. Lee and Duval were both also in foul trouble picking up their respective fouls with 10 minutes left, and Lee would eventually foul out. Reserves Tom Stundis and Chuck Wichman played well down the stretch to help the Orangemen hold on and win.
Mike Lee and Kohls help the Orangemen beat Temple 84-77 in overtime. They would again go overtime in the next game, this time against Penn State. The game was tied with 6 seconds played when Kohls was fouled, resulting in a one-and-one free throw attempt. Kohls, an 86% free throw shooter on the season, missed the free throw and the game would go in to overtime. Penn State would dominate the overtime and win the game 81-76.
Syracuse would go into overtime for a third time two games later against Fordham. The Rams tightly guarded Kohls, which resulted in several foul shots. Kohls would end up going 17 for 17 from the free throw line, as the Orangemen needed every one of those points. Syracuse reserve Chuck Wichman scored a layup with 30 seconds remaining to give the Orangemen an 83-81 lead in regulation. However, the Rams’ Frank Howard hit a jumper with eight seconds remaining to tie the game and send it into overtime. The Rams led 89-88 when Fordham center Bart Woytowicz was fouled with 9 seconds to go. He would miss his free throw, and Mark Wadach grabbed the rebound. Wadach fed the ball to Wichman who drove in for the game winning layup with 1 second remaining in overtime, as the Orangemen won 90-89.
The Orangemen would lose their next game to Pittsburgh despite getting 34 points from Kohls and 32 from Lee.
Syracuse would win its last seven regular season games to bring their record to 21-5. The team would earn an NIT berth and beat Davidson 81-77 in the first round.
The Orangemen would play an exciting game against Maryland in the second round. The Terrapins led 35-20 at halftime. The Orangemen came out the second half pressing on defense, and ran the ball quickly on offense. The startled Terrapins had trouble getting the ball across midcourt and the Orangemen went on a 10-1 run. Eventually the Orangemen got the score to 48-42. The Terrapins went into a slowdown offense to try to ice the game, but the Orangemen continued to battle and got the score to 59-56 with 3:58 to play. Syracuse would pull within two at 67-65 at 1:01, when coach Roy Danforth got called for slamming his scorecard on the court protesting a foul call against Duval. Maryland would make the two foul free throws, but missed the technical. However, Syracuse couldn’t convert on any opportunities in the last minute as #14 Maryland held on to win.
© RLYoung 2005, 2015