Jim Boeheim is at 900 career wins - but it did not come easily, and when it did happen, he used that platform to speak out in an unexpected manner.
James Southerland's 22 points and Michael Carter-Williams' double-double of 10 points and 12 assists, allowed the no. 3-ranked Orange to hang on and beat Detroit 72-68 at the Carrier Dome.
SU was fortunate not to come away empty-handed. Carter-Williams was clutch, hitting five out of six free throws in the last minute to move the Orange's record to 10-0.
The 68-year-old Boeheim, in his 37th year at the head coach at his alma mater, joined an elite fraternity. Only Duke's Mike Krzyewski (934) and the retired Bob Knight (902) have more men's coaching wins.
After the victory, Boeheim spoke to the crowd and was presented a jersey encased in glass with 900 emblazoned on it. Not taking the award for granted, the head coach finally loosened up,
“I'm happy," he said. "I have stayed around long enough. I was a little nervous. I'm proud to be here. To win this game is more pressure than I've felt in a long time.
"To me it's just a number. If I get 900, have I got to get more? That's why maybe it's just not that important to me because it's really just a number, and the only number that matters is how this team does.”
But in the post-game press conference, Boeheim had a more sobering message, commenting on the shooting massacre that took place three days earlier at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“If we cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society," he said. "If one person in this world, the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots - this is our fault if we don't go out there and do something about this. If we can't get this thing done, I do not know what kind of country we have.”