tampabay.com

Day later, Syracuse remains shocked

By wire services
Published March 20, 2005


WORCESTER, Mass. - Hakim Warrick never thought his stellar career at Syracuse would end so abruptly.

Warrick, who returned for his senior season with hopes of reaching the Final Four again, was left in tears Friday night after the fourth-seeded Orange were upset 60-57 in overtime by Vermont in the first round.

"It's unbelievable," said Warrick, who led the Orange to their first Big East tournament title in 13 years and won conference player of the year honors. "I can't believe my career ended this way."

Syracuse picked the wrong time to play its worst game of the season. The Orange committed a season-high 24 turnovers and scored a season-low 51 in regulation.

"We just made too many mistakes," coach Jim Boeheim said.

The setback rekindled memories of the Orange's past problems in the tournament and was the worst loss since Syracuse became the first team in history to lose to a 15th seed. Richmond upset the No.2 Orange in 1991.

"I'm really shocked," sophomore Terrence Roberts said. "I can't believe it. We're a good team."

Still, Warrick, swingman Josh Pace and center Craig Forth leave as one of the top senior classes in school history, having been part of 103 wins and the school's lone national title in 2003.

"These guys have had tremendous careers," Boeheim said. "They're great kids. I really am proud to be around them. They're great leaders. They never give up."

ADVICE TOO GOOD?: Back in 1986, when Paul Hewitt was a junior varsity coach at Westbury (N.Y.) High, he hauled his team up to Providence for Rick Pitino's weeklong summer camp.

After the campers went to bed, Hewitt and the other coaches would "chalk talk" with Pitino, picking the brain of a man who would make his first Final Four the next March.

"Being there at that camp, it helped me to refine my thoughts about how to press and be a good pressing team," said Hewitt, whose Georgia Tech team faces Pitino's Louisville team today.

Every Yellow Jacket presses, from little Will Bynum to center Luke Schenscher, and they do it for the entire game. They're holding opponents to 66 points a game and less than 40 percent shooting, sixth-best in the country.

"They have everything we haven't really seen all year," Pitino said. "Nobody has come with this much size, this much talent, this much experience as Georgia Tech."

INJURIES: Connecticut forward Denham Brown, who has a sore right hamstring, rode a stationary bicycle instead of practicing. Also, UConn guard Marcus Williams missed about half of practice because of a knee injury sustained in Friday's victory over Central Florida. Both will be game-time decisions.

N.C. State, UConn's opponent today, will be without guard Tony Bethel because of a groin injury. In 26 games, 21 starts, Bethel is averaging 8.3 points.

UCONN DENIAL: UConn coach Jim Calhoun denied freshman guard Antonio Kellogg has failed three drug tests. He suspended the backup point guard indefinitely Monday for a "violation of team policy."

"It was an accumulation of a number of things off the court, academics, misbehavior in class," Calhoun said. "It's a kid going through a social adjustment. He is still eligible to play."

Kellogg did not practice last week and did not travel. He played about 14 minutes a game backing up Marcus Williams, averaging 3.2 points in 29 games.

RATINGS: The first two days were the highest-rated since 1991, when CBS began full-day coverage.

The coverage averaged an overnight rating of 5.0. That's the best since 1991's 5.0. The average is up 4 percent from last year's 4.8.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs whether or not they are in use. Each national point represents 1.084-million households.