2002–03 Syracuse Orangemen basketball team

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2002–03 Syracuse Orangemen men's basketball
NCAA National Champions
Big East Regular Season Co-Champions
National Championship vs. Kansas, W, 81–78
Conference Big East Conference (1979–2013)
Ranking
Coaches #1
AP #13
2002–03 record 30–5 (13–3 Big East)
Head coach Jim Boeheim
Assistant coach Bernie Fine
Assistant coach Mike Hopkins
Assistant coach Troy Weaver
Home arena Carrier Dome
Seasons
« 2001–02 2003–04 »
2002–03 Big East men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
East
Boston College 10 6   .625     19 12   .613
#11 Connecticut 10 6   .625     23 10   .697
Providence 8 8   .500     18 14   .563
Villanova 8 8   .500     15 16   .484
St. John's 7 9   .438     21 13   .618
Miami 4 12   .250     11 17   .393
Virginia Tech* 4 12   .250     11 18   .379
West
#1 Syracuse 13 3   .813     30 5   .857
#8 Pittsburgh 13 3   .813     28 5   .848
Seton Hall 10 6   .625     17 13   .567
#15 Notre Dame 10 6   .625     24 10   .706
Georgetown 6 10   .375     19 15   .559
West Virginia 5 11   .313     14 15   .483
Rutgers* 4 12   .250     12 16   .429
† 2003 Big East Tournament winner
As of March 31, 2003[1]; Rankings from Coaches' Poll
*Did not qualify for 2003 Big East Tournament

The 2002–03 Syracuse Orangemen basketball team represented Syracuse University in NCAA men's basketball competition in the 2002–03 Division I season. (At that time, "Orangemen" was exclusively used to refer to Syracuse men's teams; women's teams were known as "Orangewomen".) The Head Coach was Jim Boeheim, serving for his 27th year. The team played its home games at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. The team finished with a 30–5 (13–3) record, while capturing its first modern-era NCAA Championship.

The team had just one senior, guard Kueth Duany. He was joined in the starting lineup by forwards Hakim Warrick (sophomore), Carmelo Anthony (freshman), center Craig Forth (sophomore), and guard Gerry McNamara (freshman). Other key contributors included guards Josh Pace (sophomore) and Billy Edelin (freshman), and center Jeremy McNeil (junior).

Season recap[edit]

Things did not start well for Syracuse. Guards DeShaun Williams[2] and James Thues[3] both left the team. Williams transferred to Iona while Thues left for Detroit. Freshman point guard Billy Edelin was suspended for 12 games for participating in a non-sanctioned basketball league. Syracuse then started its season with a loss against Memphis, despite Carmelo Anthony's 27 points, a then-high for a Syracuse freshman debut.[4]

But things turned around, as Syracuse went 13–3 in the Big East, with several memorable wins. McNamara would establish himself as a clutch player, nailing a game-winning 3-pointer as then-No. 17 Syracuse notched an 82–80 win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame in February.[5] In an upset of then-No. 24 Syracuse over then-No. 2 Pittsburgh, McNeil, a career 49.1% free throw shooter, hit two key free throws, and added a game-winning tip in a 67–65 upset.[6]

The Orangemen would play five Big 12 teams throughout the year, including games against Missouri[7] in the regular season, and against Oklahoma (Elite Eight), Oklahoma State (second round), Texas (National Semifinal) and then Kansas (National Championship game).[8]

In the championship game against Kansas, with Syracuse leading by three with under 15 seconds left, Warrick missed two free throws that would've sealed the game with Syracuse hanging on to a three-point lead, 81–78. With 1.5 seconds left and the score still the same, Kansas' Michael Lee was open on the baseline for a potential game-tying 3-pointer. But Warrick used his long arms to block Lee's attempt and Syracuse captured its first ever national championship.[9]

Coincidentally, the game was played in Super Dome in New Orleans, where Syracuse had lost the National Championship to Indiana in 1987 on a last second shot by Keith Smart.[10]

Roster[edit]

Name Number Position Height Weight Year Hometown PPG APG RPG
Hakim Warrick 1 F 6–9 219 Sophomore Philadelphia, PA 14.8 1.6 8.5
Gerry McNamara 3 G 6–2 182 Freshman Scranton, PA 13.3 4.4 2.3
Josh Pace 5 G/F 6–5 190 Sophomore Griffin, GA 4.3 1.9 2.7
Kueth Duany 13 G/F 6–6 190 Senior Sudan/Bloomington, IN 11.0 2.0 3.7
Billy Edelin 14 G 6–4 195 Freshman Silver Spring, MD 9.0 2.5 3.4
Carmelo Anthony 15 F 6–8 230 Freshman Baltimore, MD 22.2 2.2 10.0
Matt Gorman 24 F/C 6–9 235 Freshman Watertown, NY 2.3 0.1 2.1
Jeremy McNeil 34 C 6–8 257 Junior San Antonio, TX 3.3 0.2 4.2
Craig Forth 51 C 7-1 255 Sophomore Albany, NY 3.8 0.9 3.3

References[edit]