The Syracuse University men's basketball program is still undefeated after cruising past Virginia Tech in the semifinals of the NIT Tipoff Tournament on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden (MSG).
The Orange, who improved to 5-0, were actually down by two at the half (27-29), but roared back in the second stanza to outscore the Hokies 42-29.
The final score was Syracuse 69, Virginia Tech 58.
Senior forward Kris Joseph was the top performer for the Orange, scoring 20 points with 10 rebounds two assists and two steals. Keeping pace in a losing effort for the Hokies was sophomore point guard Jarell Eddie with 17 points, four rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Wednesday night's loss was Virginia Tech's first of the season, who fall to 3-1 in defeat. The victory for Syracuse pushed them into the NIT championship game against Stanford on Friday at MSG.
On Tuesday, in a pregame presser for Wednesday's match up against the Hokies, Boeheim was -- not surprisingly -- bombarded by reporters who wanted to get more sound bites from the man who has been coaching at SU and is very good friends with Fine for 40-plus years.
"I made one statement. I think it was the right statement. I don’t have to repeat it, everyone’s seen it. I support Bernie. Like I said, known him for 50 years. If something else happens, some factual things, then we’ll have to adjust to that."
He did a double take. "That’s not for me to say," he replied. Then, a rare smirk. Another glance over his shoulder. "Read Jason Whitlock," he suggested, referring to the national columnist who smashed ESPN to pieces Tuesday for airing the Bobby Davis allegations against Fine, while we were all still dizzy from Penn State.
If there are two message that Boeheim has tried to clearly communicate to the media in the past few days, they have been: A) he's no Joe Paterno -- if he knew anything about the allegations facing Fine, he would have reported them immediately; and B) Bernie Fine is his friend -- and if you want to slam him for supporting his friend, well, go ahead.
In the past few days, since ESPN broke the story about Fine, there has been a lot of back-and-forth talk in and around the Syracuse area, but little new information. The only new tidbit -- and it's a solid one -- has come from Danielle Roach, former girlfriend of Davis, who pushed for the investigations of Fine in '02 and '11 and says there will be a lot of support for Fine because he didn't abuse everybody.
Not surprisingly, as Roach mentioned, much of the water-cooler talk as been very supportive of Fine, who seemingly has a spotless record among the SU community.
Many fans who have called in to local radio talk shows have been very respectful toward the alleged victims, but have told countless stories that strongly support Fine's character. Meanwhile, a very loud minority has, rightfully so, questioned SU's and the Syracuse Post-Standards's previous investigation in '03 and the practices of the basketball program.
Unfortunately for Syracuse fans, answers to these questions will not come soon. That's because the Syracuse Police Department, led by Police Chief Frank Fowler, and the District Attorney, William Fitzpatrick, are currently participating in an ego war, which features one man calling out the other man. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.
Despite the solid match up Wednesday against Virginia Tech, a possible final's showdown Friday vs. Stanford or Oklahoma State and a looming top-10 match up against the University of Florida, Dec. 2 (7 p.m. on ESPN), the Orange faithful can't get fully get back into their basketball mood. And, sadly, that maybe the case all season long.
Here's video from the Associated Press of Boeheim's Tuesday interview.
The Syracuse University men's basketball program faces arguably its toughest test of the 2011-12 season Wednesday night as the Orange play Virginia Tech in the semifinal round of the NIT Tipoff Tournament (9 p.m. on ESPN2). SB Nation New York previews the match up.