You might remember Cleveland State as a footnote in NCAA basketball history: back in 1986, the Vikings became the darlings of the hoops world when they beat Indiana and St. Joesph’s to become the first No. 14 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Both their wins came in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, one of the sites for the early rounds of the East Regionals (remember back when game sites actually had some geographical relevance to their bracket?)
Flash-forward 22 years, as Cleveland State makes their return trip to Syracuse, this time to take on the previously-unbeaten and 11th-ranked Orange. The Vikings - thought to be a contender in the Horizon League before a rash of early losses - put up a good fight and lead late, only to see Syracuse’s Arinze Onuaku tie the score at 69-69 with two seconds left on a put-back basket, setting up the inevitable overtime where the better team uses their superior depth and athletic ability to pull away from the game underdogs.
And then this happened:
Cedric Jackson drains the 60-footer - just like they work on it in practice - and Cleveland State stuns Syracuse 72-69. All of which left Orange coach Jim Boeheim pretty irritable at the post-game press conference. Add in a faulty microphone and you’ve got a late contender for coaching meltdown of the year. (Thanks to NESW SPORTS for the heads up
Yowza. I know it looks bad, but Boeheim was obviously in a bad mood and I’m sure he feels really bad about it. (Although that mic totally had it coming.) After all, he doesn’t want to set a bad example for his students, so they can think they can act out in violent and destructive fashion and not be punished.
Oops, never mind. Still, it’s a great win for Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters. Let’s just hope he doesn’t suffer the same downward spiral that the last Vikings coach to win in Syracuse did, but I hope Waters is smart enough to not get caught high as a kite leaving a crack house.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles kept “Operation Don’t Let a Tie with the Bengals Ruin Our Season” going for at least one more week last night, pasting the Cleveland Browns 30-10. (And really, is there any other way to beat a Ken Dorsey-led team?) That’s three straight wins after the debacle against the Ravens that led to Donovan McNabb’s benching and a general consensus that the Andy Reid Era in Philadelphia was over.
Impressive, but will it be enough? Let’s just say that the odds are stacked against them. Not only will they need to beat Washington (who are imploding, but it’s on the road) and Dallas (the perpetual question mark), but they need either Atlanta (games against Minnesota and St. Louis) or Tampa Bay (San Diego and Oakland) to lose once.
With three almost guaranteed wins there, the Eagles have to pin their postseason hopes on the less-than-golden arm of Tarvaris Jackson. Good luck with that.
Other sports news that happened while you and everyone else in America were not out watching “Delgo” at your local movie theater:
- Tiger Woods’ caddie/luckiest guy in the world Steve Williams rips Phil Mickelson, calling him a “prick“ and commenting on his…ahem…cup size. Woods responds by telling THE GUARDIAN that he’s “disappointed” in the remarks. Could Williams be joining Fluff Cowan in the Tiger Woods Caddie Graveyard?
- In a bit of karma straight out of “My Name is Earl,” the MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE says Vikings DT Pat Williams, after being reinstated via court order following his suspension for water pills, might be out for the season after fracturing his shoulder against the Cardinals.
- SI’s Jon Heyman has word that there might be a mystery suitor who is stepping in late to make a run at Andy Pettitte. Honestly, if it’s the Astros and the phrase “linked to the return of Roger Clemens” comes up, I will start punching people in the throat.
- The SALT LAKE TRIBUNE is surprised that Utah still hasn’t sold 5,000 of their allotment of 17,500 tickets to the Sugar Bowl. Really? Because I don’t see many families of 12 from Salt Lake City thinking that a debauchery-filled trip to Bourbon Street sounds like a proper vacation.
- How committed is Illinois to becoming a sports power? ILLINI HQ has news of a study that puts the cost of recruiting for the Illini’s sports programs last year at more than $1.2 million. That’s No. 2 in the Big Ten, just a tick behind Ohio State, which has a 100,000-seat stadium filled during the football season.
- Despite the Bulldogs’ disappointing season, the ATHENS BANNER-HERALD reports that Georgia assistant coaches are getting a 14 percent bonus for making it to the Capital One Bowl.
- NEWSDAY says it got all warm and mushy in Phoenix as the Suns’ players and fans rolled out the red carpet for former head coach Mike D’Antoni. Then the Suns went out and beat his Knicks 111-103. Welcome home, indeed.
- It’s become a Christmas tradition for President Bush to recruit lots of celebrities to star in his dog Barney’s holiday video (and you wonder why the country is where it’s at?) The BOSTON GLOBE says that Olympic heroes Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin are co-starring in this year’s final masterpiece.
- The BOSTON GLOBE has good news for Celtics fans: they beat the Jazz 100-91 for their 15th straight win. The only catch is that Paul Pierce went down with a knee injury in the final seconds, although he tells the paper that it’s a minor injury. Certainly nothing like getting stabbed in the face.
- The MUNSTER TIMES passes along word of 19-year-old Valparaiso freshman basketball player Logan Jones, who was arrested when cops allegedly found him and some friends in a car drinking and smoking pot. He was arrested, despite the officer noting in his police report that he pleaded with him to “please be cool, I don’t want to loss (sic) my scholarship.”