Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim records his 900th victory | College basketball
Jim Boeheim of Syracuse became the third Division I men's coach with at least 900 career victories when the third-ranked Orange beat visiting Detroit.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Jim Boeheim called it just another number. The Carrier Dome message board didn't support that view.
Moments after his third-ranked Syracuse Orange held off Detroit for a 72-68 victory Monday in the Gotham Classic, making Boeheim the third Division I men's coach to reach 900 wins, Hall of Famer Dave Bing, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville's Rick Pitino offered congratulations on the big screens inside the dome as the hometown faithful cheered.
The 68-year-old Boeheim, in his 37th year at his alma mater, is 900-304 and joined an elite fraternity.
Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only other men's Division I coaches to win that many games.
"To me, it's just a number," said Boeheim, whose first victory was against Harvard in 1976. "If I get 900, have I got to get more? That's why maybe it's just not that important to me because to me it's just a number, and the only number that matters is how this team does."
So far, it has done OK.
James Southerland scored 22 points for Syracuse (10-0), which extended its home winning streak to 30 games, longest in the nation. Detroit (6-5) had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Detroit Mayor Bing — Boeheim's college roommate, teammate and fellow Hall of Famer — was in the crowd of 17,902.
"Nobody would have thought when we came here 50 years ago that either one of us would have had the kind of success we've had," Bing said. "I'm so pleased and proud of him because he stuck with it. He's proven that he's one of the best coaches ever in college basketball, and he'll be No. 2 shortly."
Boeheim was presented a jersey encased in glass with 900 emblazoned on it.
"I'm happy. I've stayed around long enough. I was a little nervous," Boeheim said. "I'm proud to be here. To win this game is more pressure than I've felt in a long time. I wasn't thinking about losing until the end. That wouldn't have been a good thing to happen, but it very well could have."
Midway through the second half with Syracuse dominating, fans were given placards featuring cardboard cutouts of Boeheim's face with 900 wins printed on the back to wave in celebration. But when the public-address announcer at the Carrier Dome invited fans to stick around for the postgame ceremony, the Titans roared back.
Juwan Howard Jr., who finished with 18 points, scored 14 over the last six minutes to key a 16-0 run, his two free throws allowing Detroit to cut Syracuse's lead to 67-63 with 55.1 seconds left. The Titans had trailed by 20 points with 6:09 to play.
"You know what, I didn't hear it (public-address announcement), but the players probably heard because they sure came alive," Detroit coach Ray McCallum said.
Michael Carter-Williams made three of four free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory.
• Duke moved up a spot to No. 1 in the Associated Press media and USA Today/ESPN coaches polls. Previous No. 1 Indiana lost 88-86 to Butler in overtime Saturday.
Duke has reached No. 1 in the AP poll at least once in a record 16 seasons under Krzyzewski
In order, Duke, Michigan and Syracuse are 1-2-3 in both polls. Gonzaga remained 14th in both polls.
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