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Syracuse Basketball: Orange's 5 Best Single-Game Performances in Past Decade

Justin NeumanContributor IIDecember 3, 2016

Syracuse Basketball: Orange's 5 Best Single-Game Performances in Past Decade

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    Kevin Rivoli/Associated Press

    The Syracuse basketball team has been on one of its most successful runs of late.

    The team wouldn't have been able to have so much success without the accomplishments of some great players. Jim Boeheim has been on a roll lately with players such as Jonny Flynn, Dion Waiters, Wes Johnson, Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis turning into high NBA draft picks.

    Other players such as Brandon Triche, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine and Andy Rautins didn't find success in the NBA, but they had stellar careers in Syracuse nonetheless.

    Let's celebrate some of these players, and take a look back at the five best single-game performances of the past 10 years. Sorry, Carmelo, you're ineligible for this list since it dates only to the 2003-04 season.

    We'll start with some honorable mentions, then rank the performances based on statistical output, how much of an effect the performance had on the game and how meaningful the game itself was.

Honorable Mention

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    Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

    There have been plenty of great individual performances in the past 10 years of Syracuse basketball.

    But we can only rank five, which means some will miss the cut. Either because they came in blowout wins or losses, here are a few great individual efforts that just missed the cut.

     

    Wes Johnson, March 21, 2010: Scored 31 points, 14 rebounds in a rout of Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament. Johnson was 11-of-16 shooting and 4-of-6 from three.

     

    Hakim Warrick, February 23, 2005: Dropped 35 points and 10 rebounds against St. John's. Warrick also made 15 of his 19 free throws. You could pick any number of Warrick's games from his senior year to be here.

     

    Dion Waiters, March 9, 2012: This one came in a loss, but Waiters had 28 points against Cincinnati in the Big East Tournament. Waiters hit seven of his 10 three-point attempts and helped get them back in the game after being down early.

5. Fab Melo, December 28, 2011

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    Kevin Rivoli/Associated Press

    We've got to get at least one big man on here.

    Syracuse fans may have differing opinions on Fab Melo's time in Syracuse, but there is no denying his dominance in his sophomore year—when he was on the court, anyway.

    One of Melo's best games came against Seton Hall, when he scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked 10 shots. Those 10 blocks were a school record, and that more than anything else gets him on this list.

    Syracuse won easily, but it was the defense, led by Melo, that turned the tides in Syracuse's favor. Leading scorer Kris Joseph didn't score in the game, but it didn't matter. Melo's dominating defensive performance was more than enough to get the team a win.

4. Kris Joseph, February 8, 2012

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    Kevin Rivoli/Associated Press

    There had to be one game on this list that came against Georgetown.

    And so we get to Kris Joseph (Air Canada!), who dropped 29 points and five rebounds while playing the entire 45 minutes in a 2012 overtime win against the Hoyas.

    The win kept Syracuse at just a single loss on the season and ranked second in the country.

    Joseph made nine of his 20 shots, including six of his 11 three-point attempts. He also hit the decisive three in overtime, and the win was Jim Boeheim's 880th of his career, which broke his tie with Dean Smith for third on the all-time list.

    Joseph's six threes were a career high, and Boeheim said "Kris bailed us out" after the game. Because it was against Georgetown and it got Boeheim a milestone win, Joseph's performance earns him a spot on this list.

    By the way, isn't it a shame that team didn't at least make a Final Four? Just look at that roster. Joseph, Brandon Triche, Rakeem Christmas, Scoop Jardine and Fab Melo with Dion Waiters, James Southerland, C.J. Fair, Michael Carter-Williams and Baye Moussa Keita coming off the bench? Come on, now.

    If only Melo would have tried harder in class.

Trevor Cooney, February 3, 2014

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    This one should be fresh in your memory.

    It was just days after Syracuse and Duke somehow exceeded the hype of their first meeting and put on a show in front of over 35,000 fans. It was also a day after the Super Bowl, where everyone sits on the couch and eats and eats and eats.

    The Orange were the top-ranked team in the nation and undefeated at 21-0. Notre Dame was struggling to stay .500, and it shaped up to be an easy one for the Orange.

    It was anything but that. None of the players had their legs, and no player managed to score in double figures. No player, that is, except Trevor Cooney.

    In one of his last good shooting performances of the season, Cooney erupted for a career-high 33 points and tied the school record with nine made three-pointers. The Orange needed every bit of Cooney's heroics to hold on to win 61-55, stay undefeated and avoid a letdown after the Duke game.

    C.J. Fair had only six points on 2-of-13 shooting. Jerami Grant was second to Cooney in scoring with nine points. It was The Cooney Show, and it is because Syracuse needed his performance to get a win that puts him this high on the list.

2. Gerry McNamara, March 18, 2004

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    Gerry McNamara reminisced about this game with Syracuse.com's Donna Ditota, and Ditota used a photo of McNamara falling away with a hand in his face. When McNamara saw the picture was from a game against BYU, he said "it probably went in."

    He's most likely right, because McNamara hit nine of the 13 threes he attempted en route to 43 points against 12th-seeded BYU in the first round of the 2004 NCAA tournament.

    The nine threes? A school record. Forty-three points? A career-high for McNamara and more than any Syracuse player has ever scored in a game in the Big Dance.

    But when Ditota asked McNamara what he remembered most about that game, McNamara said "I remember Hakim Warrick getting into foul trouble." Warrick went to the bench with his third foul with just under five minutes left in the first half, leaving McNamara to pretty much carry the load by himself.

    The defending champs were without Carmelo Anthony (went to the NBA) and Kueth Duany (graduated), so McNamara and Warrick were the go-to guys on the team.

    When Warrick hit the bench, McNamara already had 15 points, but the team was down 11. McNamara poured in 13 more without Warrick, and the team was eventually able to tie it at halftime and hold on for an 80-75 win.

    In its title defense, Syracuse was on the ropes, and BYU was looking for another one of those 12-over-5-seed upsets. McNamara would have none of that as he put the team on his back and shot them into the next round.

1. Jonny Flynn, March 12, 2009

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    Darren Hauck/Associated Press

    The six-overtime game.

    Not only is it one of the best games in Syracuse history, but it is also one of the best games in college basketball history. And it was on one of the game's biggest stages: the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden.

    That game is legendary and so is Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn's performance. First of all, Flynn played an insane 67 out of 70 minutes in the game. That's two games' worth of action.

    Not only did he go basically wire to wire, but Flynn put on a show the entire time he was on the floor. Flynn finished with 34 points on 9-of-24 shooting. He also made all 16 of his free-throw attempts, including two with 20 seconds left in the fifth overtime to tie the game and send it to a sixth.

    Flynn also dished out 11 assists, grabbed three rebounds and snagged six steals in the marathon thriller. Sure, Flynn may have had extra sessions to put up bigger numbers. But his giant workload, combined with keeping Syracuse alive in a tournament setting, makes the show he put on in the Garden No. 1 on this list.

     

    Are there any games that we left off? Or should the list be ordered differently? Sound off in the comments and get involved with Justin on Twitter @JustinNeuman10.

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