December 3, 2004

Red Looks for Win in Battle of D-I Winless

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Wednesday night, Syracuse forward Hakim Warrick made SportsCenter’s “Top 10” with a nifty up-and-under move in his team’s 91-67 win over St. Bonaventure (0-4).

Tomorrow evening, the Red will get its chance at national fame as it takes on the Bonnies at the Reilly Center in Olean, N.Y. The only differences in this game will be that it will be playing a Cornell team that is also winless against Division I opponents and that this game will not be televised on ESPN, or any other network for that matter.

The Red (1-4) squeaked out its lone win this season against Division III Ithaca College on Monday night, 69-67.

“Obviously at this point we need ourselves a victory,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Red has tried to pick up its first win against a Division I opponent four times — all on the road — failing each time. Its last attempt was Wednesday evening in an 83-76 loss at Quinnipiac.

The Red lost despite solid individual efforts from its upperclassmen. Junior Lenny Collins poured in 27 points, while senior captain Eric Taylor notched a double-double. But the Red had trouble containing the Bobcat guards — Rob Monroe and Craig Benson — who poured in 56 of Quinnipiac’s 83 points.

St.Bonaventure’s strength is also in the backcourt, where juniors Ahmad Smith and Wade Dunston lead the charge. Against the Orange, the combo netted eight and 17 points, respectively. Freshman forward Michael Lee provided a spark off the Bonnies’ bench tallying 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Shooting has been an issue for the Bonnies, as the team has shot just 35 percent on the season. The poor shooting has led to four games in which the team has scored less than 67 points, including a 74-58 loss to Marist — a team that also ousted the Red, 72-67, in both squads’ season opener. Yet despite St. Bonaventure’s troubles, Donahue knows that for the Red to prevail, it will need to play at a high level.

“It’s an Atlantic-10 team, [and] although they’re struggling, they’re going to have some size and athleticism,” Donahue said. “We’ve got to be ready to play, and for the whole 40 minutes together, which is something we haven’t done this year.”

Tomorrow night’s game will also mark the Red’s third game in six days, and fifth on the road this season, yet Donahue doesn’t believe that fatigue is playing into the Red’s poor start.

“I don’t think [fatigue] is a problem,” Donahue said. “We were pretty pleased with our conditioning.”

One of the players Donahue believes that has really stepped up his game because of his conditioning has been Taylor, who has been one of the Red’s bright spots in the early-going.

“Taylor is one of the biggest improvements, and with him it has been his conditioning,” Donahue said. “He’s playing great on both ends of the floor.”

Taylor has been a key to the Red in many facets of the game, shooting 69 percent from the field, pulling down 21 offensive rebounds in five games, and posting three double-doubles in the past four games.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Assistant Sports Editor