Syracuse basketball’s lead against Oakland, ranked 172nd in the KenPom ratings, was down to only five points when head coach Jim Boeheim decided he needed a rally. Not from his team, but the fans watching them.
Boeheim removed his jacket and walked down the sideline, urging those in attendance to make some noise, per syracuse.com. The crowd soon rallied, as did the Orange. Oakland did not score a field goal for the final six minutes, a 74-62 Syracuse win.
Boeheim still wasn’t happy with his paying fans after the game.
Coach Boeheim says the lack of crowd support played a factor in today’s game. He calls it “sickening”.— Claudia Bellofatto (@CBellofattoTV) December 19, 2019
What do you guys think? pic.twitter.com/cIima0T9np
Boeheim’s full quote:
“I had to cheer to try to get somebody to make some noise. It’s sad, sickening really, to see that we can’t get some help here. We desperately need it and it picked up our defense just enough. We got a couple deflections, made a couple plays out of it. But we have to have some help there. That’s the whole purpose of playing at home and I’m a little too old to try to be a cheerleader here.”
To be fair to the Carrier Dome crowd, Boeheim probably shouldn’t need their help to beat Oakland. It’s also hard to blame them for not really feeling it considering the factors at play on Wednesday.
As syracuse.com noted, there were a number of reasons for the silent crowd on Wednesday. Many students were home on break. Syracuse was hit with snow and wind. The game had a late 8 p.m. start and the aforementioned 172nd-ranked opponent.
The relationship between crowd energy and home team performance is a classic chicken-and-egg scenario. One can create the other, but assigning blame to the fans is usually inadvisable unless you’re a program legend like Boeheim. Syracuse junior Marek Dolezaj followed that philosophy after the game, saying the crowd’s slow start was the team’s fault, not the other way around.
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