Division II Le Moyne Stuns Syracuse 82-79


November 3, 2009

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Christopher
and Laurence Ekperigin hooted and hollered as they skipped off
Jim Boeheim Court, huge smiles creasing their faces and seemingly as
stunned as the Syracuse Orange at what had just transpired.

Johnson scored 17 of his 22 points in
the second half, including a 3-pointer with 8.3 seconds remaining, and
Division II Le Moyne stunned Syracuse 82-79 in an exhibition game
Tuesday night.

"We've got an experienced group," Le
Moyne head coach Steve Evans said. "Did we ever think that a day like
this would happen? Probably not. But we put together a game plan. We
didn't want to play Syracuse's way. We wanted to play our way. It was
just one of those days for Le Moyne basketball. The kids will remember
this forever."

Wes Johnson, who led Syracuse with 34 points, hit a 3 from the left corner to put Syracuse ahead 79-78 with 22 seconds left.

Then Christopher Johnson responded
with his sixth 3-pointer of the game, which came from the left side
after Syracuse's Kris Joseph backed off defensively.

"We were sort of out of whack a
little bit," Christopher Johnson said. "Everyone was rushing. But as
soon as I caught the ball, I saw an opening and I just let it fly.
Luckily, it went in."

After Wes Johnson missed a 3, Can
added a free throw with 1.3 seconds left for Le Moyne and
Syracuse had its first preseason exhibition loss since a setback
against the Harlem Globetrotters six years ago.

"Le Moyne really outplayed us from
the beginning of the game to the end," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
"They [the Orange] are very, very young mentally. They really have got
to grow up. We couldn't stop them on the dribble. That's something
we've been looking at in practice."

Ekperigin had 20 points and 11
rebounds, Damani Corbin had 11 points and five assists, and Kevin Roth
added 10 points for Le Moyne, which outscored Syracuse 42-30 in the

Andy Rautins had 13 points and Rick
finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Orange, who
led 47-37 early in the second half.

But the Dolphins, who play across
town, never let down. Three 3s by Christopher Johnson helped narrow the
gap and a three-point play by Ekperigin gave Le Moyne a 56-55 lead with
8:41 remaining.

The Dolphins, who repeatedly took
advantage of Syracuse's man-to-man defense with drives and back-door
cuts, went up 76-71 after Ekperigin converted a lob from Corbin with
57.9 seconds left and held on.

"It's very disappointing," said Wes
Johnson, in his first season after transferring from Iowa State. "Hopefully, we can learn from this and move in the right direction."

"It's just embarrassing the way we played," said Rautins, born and
raised in Syracuse. "It's embarrassing to ourselves and our fans. It
wasn't luck that they won. They came out and beat us fair and square."

Evans said he wasn't really looking forward to reading and watching the news on Wednesday.

"I feel bad that the story tomorrow
will be, 'What's wrong with Syracuse basketball?' I don't think there's
anything wrong," he said. "They've got tremendous players. It's an
exhibition game. They're young. They're going to be terrific."

Previous Article

For Unbeaten Celtics, Three Is the Magic Number

Next Article

Red Sox Tasked With Finding Bench Coach, Role for Jason Varitek

Picked For You