Needless to say, it has been a tumultuous two weeks for the Syracuse men’s basketball team.
On Nov. 17, long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine was placed on a leave of absence because of sexual molestation allegations. Fine has vehemently denied the allegations, but an investigation by various branches of law enforcement continues.
Soon after the allegations against Fine were made, SU head coach Jim Boeheim offered his own strong defense of his assistant – and the program, too.
“Our program will be fine,” he said. ‘It’s been pretty good for 36 years. We have been through a lot of different things. We will get through whatever happens in our program.”
The story culminated on Sunday night, when SU, confronted with more allegations, fired Fine, effective immediately. Whether the investigation would claim more casualties within the program remained an open question.
First, SU had to get through its Nov. 19 game against Colgate at the Carrier Dome, played just two days after the Fine allegations emerged. The Orange again crushed their upstate rival 92-47 and went from there to a victory in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
Colgate was first. SU has beaten them 46 straight times, but even with that the Dome crowd of 18,145 was more subdued in light of the possible scandal.
SU manhandled the Red Raiders with a dose of balanced scorers and an excellent 62.5 percent field goal rate. The Orange saw 14 players score, four of them in double digits, as the bench was stellar yet again outscoring Colgate 60-47 all by itself. The Orange’s defense shut down the Raiders, too, as Colgate went 17-for-53 from the field.
Kris Joseph scored a season-low six points, in large measure due to an ailing sore knee. Centers Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Keita were held in check, too, held to a combined four points. But C.J. Fair added 13 points and was very productive penetrating to the basket and hitting his patented one- handed floating shot.