first_img Published on February 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: | @Michael_Cohen13 Comments STORRS, Conn. — It’s 2 p.m. on Saturday, seven hours before tip-off, and a slew of Connecticut fans are gathered outside Gampel Pavilion, waiting patiently for that night’s showdown between the Huskies and No. 2 Syracuse.It’s 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the 3-pointer by Alex Dragicevich comes up short in Madison Square Garden. His miss seals the St. John’s upset of No. 20 Notre Dame and hands Syracuse the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament.At this point, the Orange is presented with a choice.A suddenly less-important date with the Huskies provides an opportunity to sit back a bit, circa 2010, and begin gliding toward the NCAA Tournament. Or it provides the chance to dig in, finish the regular season strong and not make the same mistakes the 2009-10 Syracuse team did — tripping up in the season finale to Louisville and getting upset in its opening game at the Big East tournament.As Brandon Triche pointed out, past teams have fallen short. Past teams, he said, lacked effort.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘The last few years we were kind of disappointed because we didn’t make the effort that we should have, winning games and getting to the championship in the Big East,’ Triche said.But Saturday’s 71-69 win over UConn dispelled any doubt regarding this team’s toughness going forward. A team that has also essentially assured itself of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament showed no signs of complacency and played with the grittiness necessary to make a deep run in March.The Orange, a team simply adding wins to its tally sheet, took the floor in a hostile environment Saturday and faced a team that desperately needed a victory to save its season. Yet as the final minutes played out, it was the Syracuse players who seemed to want the game more.Despite a sold-out crowd of more than 10,000 imploring the struggling Huskies to play well, the Orange came out flying and seized momentum. Uninhibited by the deafening roars inside Gampel Pavilion, Syracuse put together one of its best halves of the season to stun Connecticut and take a 14-point lead.SU was plus-10 on the boards in the first half, too. A product of superior effort.‘I think the way we started kind of took the wind out of their sails,’ SU assistant coach Gerry McNamara said.UConn finally got its act together 23 minutes into the game to mount a furious comeback after facing a 17-point deficit. It was a run McNamara said he and the team knew was coming.But in a game in which a win would yield very little, Syracuse still refused to be beaten.Four consecutive missed jump shots allowed the Huskies to pull within eight by the 13-minute mark of the second half. That’s when SU guard Dion Waiters flung himself down the lane to attempt a vicious two-handed dunk.He was whacked in the air by UConn’s Niels Giffey. Waiters ended up on his backside under the hoop, clutching his right wrist and grimacing. He got up and made both free throws.Waiters went on to make two more gut-check plays for the Orange. First, he twisted through traffic and into the lane for a left-handed layup that gave his team a 69-65 lead with 2:12 remaining.With 17 seconds left, he made what Triche called a pure ‘effort play.’ UConn’s Ryan Boatright, who had already hit four 3-pointers on the night, was wide open on the left wing. Waiters lunged at him and blocked the shot when he just as easily could have stuck a hand up to merely contest it.Down the stretch, Connecticut’s supposed leader was nowhere to be found. Jeremy Lamb attempted zero shots in the final 5:46 of the game Saturday. He seemed more interested in playing hot potato than basketball and quickly passed to a teammate whenever he touched the ball.So it was forward Roscoe Smith who took the big shot for the Huskies on the final possession of the game. He was halted in the lane by Syracuse’s Fab Melo, and C.J. Fair sped in to double Smith and block his attempt.Another hustle play by Fair sealed the win for the Orange. Meanwhile, Lamb stood watching roughly 28 feet from the basket, providing no help.That’s the difference between a team with Final Four potential and a team staring the National Invitation Tournament dead in the face. One does anything to win at any time, the other shows up when it feels like it.Said Fair: ‘We stayed in there fighting.’Michael Cohen is a staff writer at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13. center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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first_imgSyracuse head coach Doug Marrone reiterated his pride in his team’s performance in its 45-26 win over No. 11 Louisville on Monday.But as he has all season, Marrone turned his focus to the Orange’s next game. SU (5-5, 4-2 Big East) will travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on Southeastern Conference opponent Missouri (5-5, 2-5 SEC) on Saturday — a tough nonconference matchup as both teams look to lock up bowl eligibility with two regular-season games remaining.“Now it’s a challenge to keep that going and the schedule doesn’t get easier,” Marrone said during the Big East coaches’ teleconference. “Late in the year, going out to play an SEC team in their home field and a very talented team so we got our work cut out for us and we got to get back to work.”The Tigers have endured a rough transition into the SEC — widely considered the best conference in the country — suffering all five of their losses in conference play. Four of those five opponents are ranked in the top 12 in the nation and combine for a 35-5 record. And though Missouri is currently in the bottom half of the league in total offense and defense, Marrone is preparing his team for another quality opponent.Marrone said the team plans to avoid a letdown like it did following its upset of West Virginia last season by preparing with the same focus it did heading into the Louisville game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe acknowledged SU’s letdown after that big win and the team’s struggles on the road before stressing the need for his team to execute.“We’re trying to do a lot of the things we did last week, mirror that and become better,” Marrone said during the teleconference. “And get these game plans and go out there and play a very talented and a very good football team.”Nassib continues standout senior seasonRyan Nassib capped his career at the Carrier Dome with a memorable victory on Saturday.The SU quarterback led his team to an upset of Louisville, throwing for three touchdowns and 246 yards. He now sits atop the Big East in career completions with 738, and he is only six yards away from passing Marvin Graves to become Syracuse’s all-time leader in career passing yards.Nassib moved past Donovan McNabb for second all-time and goes into the Missouri game with 3,114 yards. The senior has completed 63.4 percent of his passes to go with 21 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions.Marrone spoke about Nassib’s contributions to the program and his development the last four years following the win on Saturday. And he shared similar sentiments on Monday.Said Marrone: “I tell him all the time I can appreciate how much work he’s put into becoming a better leader on this football team and it’s really helped us.” Comments Published on November 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm Contact Ryne: Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

first_imgThis semester, the oldest undergraduate student at USC is redefining what it means to be a “super-senior.” 96-year-old World War II veteran Alfonso Gonzales is currently finishing up his last undergraduate unit in an elective course at the Davis School of Gerontology. If he passes, he will walk this spring with a bachelor’s degree in zoology as the oldest graduate in University history.Before attending college, Gonzales enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served as a Marine in Okinawa during World War II. After the war, Gonzales began his education at Compton Community College prior to transferring to USC in 1947 where he would come within inches of finishing his education.Flash forward 69 years. What started with a family member’s attempt to secure his degree from the school quickly became an amazing opportunity, as the family member discovered that Gonzales was one unit shy of completing his undergraduate education.“I thought all I had to do was go over there and pick up my diploma, but no, I was one unit short, they told me,” Gonzales told ABC7.The discovery sparked a wave of excitement for the Gonzales family. Gonzales’ great niece Dorinda Geddes, 53, and nephew Mario Gonzales, 65, both of Hermosa Beach, described how receptive the administration was to helping Gonzales graduate and how quickly the whole process began.“My cousin just wanted to get a copy of his degree, and they emailed her back that [Alfonso] was one unit short. So she did the footwork, and the process got rolling, and the professor contacted Mario, and Mario started bringing him down here,” Geddes said. “The day he was going to his first day of school I took a picture, and it went viral.”Over the past few weeks, Gonzales has been working closely with Aaron Hagedorn, assistant professor of gerontology at Davis, in a directed study environment. The department chose Hagedorn for his affinity for and expertise in working with older adults.“I have a passion for working with older adults,” Hagedorn said. “When we heard about this opportunity, they thought I would be able to relate well.”Given Gonzales’ unique situation, Hagedorn tailored a one-unit elective from the framework of a popular four-unit course that would challenge Gonzales not only academically but also personally and emotionally.“[The course is a] guided autobiography in which he will be writing his personal story and exploring self identity,” Hagedorn said. “I thought it would be perfect for somebody of his age and experience.”Even though he’s writing his life story by hand, Gonzales is fully embracing the modern undergraduate experience. In addition to the course readings, he’s been exploring other educational mediums such as TED talks. He’s even been sitting in on freshman and senior seminars weekly. This new knowledge has seemed to inform his worldview in a profound way, such as a recent assignment Hagedorn gave to him about the idea of myth and the story of his life“What I learned from that lesson is about attachment,” Gonzales said. “You begin to get attached since you’re born. The child gets attached to the mother, and when he gets older, he will get attached to his playmates.”Gonzales has been able to apply these ideas to his adult life as well.“I said, ‘Well, if we do this, then we do this in our senior and our adult stage,’” Gonzales said. “We get attached to unions, we get attached to clubs, to churches, and it’s all getting attached to one another in society. My attachment now is my family. When you get older, your attachment is to your family.”Going back to school has come with its fair share of challenges for Gonzales. But remarkably, none of these seem to be as burdensome or relentless as Los Angeles traffic.“Transportation is difficult, and I struggle a little bit in reading my assignment,” Gonzales said. “I have to pause when I read to comprehend it.”On top of the weekly classes, Gonzales has stayed busy with all the new people he’s met during his return to school. Last Wednesday, he was honored at a USC sponsored ROTC event for veterans, at which he had the opportunity to cut a cake with former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and meet President C. L. Max Nikias.“I felt like I was back at USC again,” Gonzales said.The family has immense pride in Gonzales, who they call “Ponchie.” They see his journey as an inspiration and his strong will as a reminder that time is not a formidable barrier to accomplishment and that it’s never too late to finish what you started.“I was always intrigued by him,” Geddes said. “I always knew he was someone special because he always seemed so intelligent to me. My grandma would always tell me, ‘Let’s go ask Alfonso, maybe he’ll know.’ He was always this genius to me, and this proves it.”Gonzales only has a few more weeks of class before he finishes an unprecedented accomplishment for somebody of his age.“We have had students in their 70’s and 80’s graduate,” said Maria Henke, associate dean of the Davis School of Gerontology. “Some of them have done it online with their masters degrees, but he’s by far the oldest undergraduate we’ve ever had.”If Gonzales passes his course, he will walk as a graduate of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences during the 2016 Commencement ceremony.last_img

first_imgAs the first half of the football season finished out with a thundering victory over Northwestern, there remains a key aspect still waiting for Wisconsin: winning on the road.Although the Badgers have competed well in both of their 2013 road contests, and even if they felt one of those losses was unmerited and unfair, a road victory has escaped their grasp in each attempt. Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1) is hoping to buck that trend Saturday under the lights in Champaign against Illinois (3-2, 0-1).At this point in the season, the Badgers have to like their chances. Now more than two weeks removed from their last loss on the road, the Badgers are looking to build off what they thought was their most impressive performance against the Wildcats in a 35-6 victory. It was the first time the defense had seven sacks in nearly a decade. It was also the first time this defense felt whole this season.“It took awhile to figure it all out,” defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said. “The previous couple of weeks I was asking some of the guys to do some things we used to last year, and it ain’t last year.“I think we’ve identified the guys with certain skill sets that can help us win and we’re putting them in the position to do that.”Those players that come to mind are redshirt sophomores Michael Caputo and Tanner McEvoy. McEvoy has made the well-documented move from quarterback to wide receiver and now starting free safety. Meanwhile, Caputo has moved around in a quieter fashion, from free safety up to the “F” linebacker position.The two moves have benefited the Badgers in just a few weeks. McEvoy is able to use his 6-foot-6 frame and athleticism to lengthen the secondary. The shorter Caputo is a better tackler and was used in various blitz packages against the Wildcats. Together the two combined for seven tackles.“We’ve got the people in the right spots, and I think we’re asking them to do the right things,” Aranda said. “As coaches we’ve identified the guys that can do the right jobs, and that really came through last week.”It certainly did against the Wildcats, where the 3-4 defense finally showed its most aggressive face. Following Saturday’s game, redshirt senior linebacker Conor O’Neill noted that many 3-4 schemes remain that Wisconsin has yet to show. Aranda agreed they’ve still got a few cards left to play.Though he enjoys setting the tempo as a defense, Aranda said Illinois will bring a different type of offense, one the Badgers will have to adapt to throughout the game. The Illini, under a new offensive coordinator, bring many different formations to the field, with anywhere from 1-5 wide receivers on the field.“They’re kind of a team that does a little bit of everything,” senior nose guard Beau Allen said. “They do a lot of goofy stuff and different stuff with their personnel and grouping … We’re expecting them to do some different stuff and pull all the stops out.”At the center of that goofy offense is senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who Allen actually played against twice at Minnetonka High School. Scheelhasse is a quarterback Allen knows well. He’s spent many snaps chasing after Scheelhaase, a dual-threat quarterback that has started for the Illini since 2010.Scheelhaase has preferred his time in the pocket more this season, however, rushing for just 42 yards on 40 attempts through five games. Throwing the ball, he has already tossed eight more touchdowns in 2013 than during all of 2012.Allen said the focus on Scheelhaase will come down to getting after him like the Badgers did against the pair of Wildcats quarterbacks last week. By flushing Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian out of the pocket, Wisconsin picked up a few of those sacks and forced their only turnover, a first quarter interception by freshman cornerback Sojourn Shelton.Shelton likes the idea of Wisconsin’s front seven moving Scheelhaase around. He wouldn’t mind grabbing another interception.“We know he’s going to throw it,” Shelton said. “We just have to be in the right positions at the right time and just make the plays. We know the ball is going to be in the air and we’re going to have the chance to break on it and make a play.”And those type of plays might be needed Saturday night. Although Illinois has not won a Big Ten game in more than two years (Oct, 2011), the Illini have played Wisconsin into some difficult contests over the years.Last season, it took 21 fourth quarter points for Wisconsin to finally pull away at home. That came one year after former quarterback Russell Wilson and former running back and Heisman candidate Montee Ball found their offense trailing the Illini by 10 at halftime. Regardless of record, it never seems to be a cakewalk for Wisconsin against Illinois, and that’s something UW has kept in mind this week.“You’ve got to think, it’s a night game, at their place … they’re probably going to wear some cool uniforms, stuff like that,” Allen said. “You can’t take any team in the Big Ten lightly, ever. That’s a huge mistake that some teams make sometimes.”last_img

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