Capitals

Boeheim wins 900th; No. 3 Syracuse 72, Detroit 68

201212171843674103756-p2.jpeg

Boeheim wins 900th; No. 3 Syracuse 72, Detroit 68

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim became the third Division I men's coach to reach 900 wins as No. 3 Syracuse beat Detroit 72-68 on Monday night in the Gotham Classic.

Boeheim, 68 and in his 37th year at his alma mater, is 900-304 and joined an elite fraternity. Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only other men's Division I coaches to win that many games.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Boeheim's college roommate, teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, and Roosevelt Bouie, a star on Boeheim's first team in 1976-77, were in the Carrier Dome crowd of 17,902. Midway through the second half, fans were given placards featuring cardboard cutouts of Boeheim's face with 900 wins printed on the back to celebrate.

Boeheim was presented a jersey encased in glass with 900 emblazoned on it.

``I'm happy. I've stayed around long enough,'' Boeheim said at center court. ``I was a little nervous.''

James Southerland had 22 points for Syracuse (10-0), which increased its home winning streak to 30 games, longest in the nation. Detroit (6-5), which lost 77-74 at St. John's in the second game of the season and 74-61 at Pitt earlier this month, had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Orange point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who had 10 or more assists in four straight games and six altogether, finished with 10 assists and 12 points, his sixth straight double-double.

Juwan Howard Jr. and Doug Anderson both scored 18 points and Nick Minnerath had 13 for Detroit. Ray McCallum Jr., Detroit's leading scorer at 19.4 points per game, finished with nine, while Jason Calliste had seven.

Southerland scored a career-high 35 points, matching a school record with nine 3-pointers, in a win at Arkansas in late November and, after an 0-for-10 slump over three games, found his range again Saturday night with three 3s in a win over Canisius. He finished 5 of 8 from behind the arc against the Titans.

Syracuse led 40-21 at halftime, and was cruising midway through the second half when the public address announcer in the Carrier Dome invited fans to stick around for the postgame celebration. That stoked the Titans to spoil the moment as the game wound down, and they made it worrisome for the hometown crowd.

Howard scored 11 points to key a 16-0 run, his two free throws pulling Detroit within 67-63 with 55.1 seconds left. But Carter-Williams hit three of four free throws to hold off the Titans.

One of the keys to breaking Syracuse's 2-3 zone is hitting the long ball, and Detroit struck out in the first half. The Titans were 0 for 10 and the lone 3 they did make - by McCallum with just over 6 minutes left - was negated by a shot-clock violation.

The Titans went nearly 7 minutes without a basket, and when they missed Southerland made them pay. He hit consecutive 3s - from the wing and the top of the key - to boost the Syracuse lead to 27-13 with 7:25 left.

After Howard hit a jumper from the wing to snap Detroit's scoreless drought, the Orange finished the half with a 13-6 run. The 21 points at halftime were a season low for the Titans.

C.J. Fair started the Syracuse surge with a layup and follow shot, Southerland hit two more 3s to finish the half 5 of 6 from behind the arc, and Carter-Williams hit a 3 at the shot-clock buzzer with 4 seconds left.

It hardly mattered that Brandon Triche, the Orange's leading scorer, had only one point. The Orange were 6 of 10 on 3-pointers and shot 55.6 percent (15 of 27), and it seemed unlikely the Titans would deprive Boeheim of his milestone victory.

Detroit was 10 of 29 in the half and 28 of 60 for the game, finishing 3 of 18 from long range.

Quick Links

Vitek Vanecek will play in NHL's round robin, but Capitals' Stanley Cup hopes rest with Braden Holtby

Vitek Vanecek will play in NHL's round robin, but Capitals' Stanley Cup hopes rest with Braden Holtby

Brought up to replace the injured Ilya Samsonov, Vitek Vanecek's first taste of NHL hockey will come inside the bubble in Toronto. Not exactly the best of circumstances. 

But Vanecek plays an important role on a Capitals team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Should Braden Holtby struggle or get hurt during the playoffs, Washington will need its young back-up goalie to keep their team afloat and let his talented skaters take it from there.

That's why NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May, during an appearance with The Sports Junkies Tuesday, looks forward to seeing Vanecek play a little bit in the round-robin portion of the NHL restart. Ideally, though, it stops there.

"[Vanecek] probably will get one of these games, [the Capitals] said that from the start," May said. "But I hope he doesn't play once they get to the playoff rounds. I think it would be wise to play him in [round robin] games, it's not the end of the world what the seeding is in this. He's a good size goaltender, I think he's about 6'2, and with the training that he's had, he's worked on the fundamentals of his game, he's gotten his conditioning up. He looks very similar to Holtby in net, He's gotten a lot of good reps in American Hockey [League] just like Holtby did around the same age."

And what's the reason why no Caps fan should want to see Vanecek in the postseason? It's simple really. Because this team's best chance at another title revolves around Holtby being a steady and stifling presence between the pipes throughout the playoffs. 

RELATED: PHYSICALITY THE KEY FOR CAPITALS IN PLAYOFFS

"I think the big thing with this is you really don't want to see [Vanecek] in the net after the round robin," he said. "If they're going to win this thing, it's gonna have to be Braden Holtby getting 16 wins. To me, the most important thing is that Holtby plays in the playoffs, the guy's dynamite, no leaky goals out of him."

This could be Holtby's last playoff run with the Capitals as he enters a contract year. The Caps already committed long term money to Nicklas Backstrom this season, they have an Alex Ovechkin extension to worry about and the flat salary cap certainly won't do them any favors either. Not to mention the presence of Samsonov after a stellar rookie season. 

So if this is it, if this is Holtby's last dance in Washington, he at least looks ready to play his best hockey when it matters most.  

"He looks focused and dialed in, and he wants to make sure if he's going out and won't be a Capital anymore he wants to go home with a victory in his last game."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

With the way Alex Smith has looked so far, Ron Rivera 'can envision' him being in the quarterback mix

With the way Alex Smith has looked so far, Ron Rivera 'can envision' him being in the quarterback mix

Positive reports about Alex Smith's early training camp performance came out over the weekend, and on a Tuesday morning Zoom call with the media, Ron Rivera echoed those reviews.

"He's looked good, he really has," the head coach said. "I'll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to see how far along he is. It's been exciting to watch his progression."

According to Rivera, Smith has been working off to the side with Washington Football Team trainers at the Ashburn facility and is mirroring what Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen are doing, too. Coordinator Scott Turner and QBs coach Ken Zampese are apparently involving Smith as much as they can, and Smith is looking "very fluid" so far.

"It's a tribute to who he is, it's a tribute to his trainers and his doctors who have helped him get where he is today," Rivera said.

That all, of course, is wildly encouraging. The fact that the 36-year-old is in a place where he can check off those boxes and do those activities is astounding. That can't be pointed out enough, either.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Yet it's also fair to note just how different mimicking a starting signal caller and actually serving as the starting signal caller are. So, is there any real chance of Smith transitioning from that first phase to the second before the season? 

With what he's seen from the veteran so far, Rivera certainly believes there is.

"I can envision it," he said. "The big thing is if he can do the things that we need him to do, that he needs to do to help himself on the football field, he'll be part of the conversation most definitely. He did some really good things last week. He went through all four workout days, had no residual effect the next morning, which is always important because the next day usually tells.

"We'll see how he is this week and we'll go from there."

As Smith continues to rehab and try to make his way off PUP, the challenges are solely physical. Rivera is not worried at all about the veteran having to adjust to a new scheme or dealing with any other mental task; instead, the primary concern is ensuring that Smith can handle the contact that'll come if he makes it back into live action.

"I believe he already knows probably 75-percent of our playbook," Rivera said. "So for him, it's really just a matter of can he do the movements he needs to do? Can he protect himself when he's on the field?"

It feels like every time Smith is brought up, he's taken another step. The next one, however — going from the PUP list to the huddle — is particularly daunting.

But at this point, it's gotten pretty difficult to imagine anything being particularly daunting for Alex Smith. So don't be that floored if he makes it happen. Rivera clearly won't be. 

MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL NEWS