In the first game since longtime assistant Bernie Fine was fired by the university, Syracuse overwhelmed Eastern Michigan, 84-48, somewhat reinforcing embattled head coach Jim Boeheim's refrain that his team would not let the continuing scandal distract them from basketball.
The Orange may have struggled with their focus early in the game, trailing the Eagles 21-18 in the first half. But a Scoop Jardine three-pointer tied the game at 21-21, and it was off to the races for the Orange. Reserve James Southerland led all scorers with a career-high 19 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. All 15 players for the Orange played at least two minutes, and 13 of them scored. Senior guard Darrell Lampley scored 19 for the Eagles in the losing effort.
The story of the game, of course, was not basketball, but rather Boeheim's first press conference since Fine's firing, which he said he supported in a statement. You can find full video of the press conference here, but here are some of the highlights:
"It's hard to put everything into words, and I've thought a lot today about different things, but I'm saddened in many ways by the events that have unfolded, and I'm looking forward to a time where we can talk and learn from what's happened," Boeheim said. "There's an important investigation going on ... and I can't add anything to that by speaking about that now. The investigation and what we can learn from it is what's important."
When asked about his job status, Boeheim laughed and said, "Can I tell you something? I've never worried about my job status in 36 years ... When I worry about that, I may have to get a job with you guys. I've been here for 36 years, I've never worried about anything. I don't worry."
When asked about his concern that the Fine allegations happened on his watch, Boeheim responded: "I do my job. I do my job. What happened on my watch, we will see. When the investigation is done, we will find out what happened on my watch. We don't know what's happened on my watch. There's an investigation under way right now, there are no charges, there are no indictments, no grand jury, there is no action being taken. When that is done, then we will see what has happened on my watch."
Boeheim went on to say he hadn't listened to the tape of Laurie Fine speaking with alleged victim Bobby Davis and, considering the questions he was being asked, gave little more indication that he was annoyed than several wry smiles.
For more on the game and for all things Syracuse, visit Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.