Published on December 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm After a slow start, Syracuse outpaced Long Beach State by 18 points on Sunday in the Carrier Dome thanks to Michael Gbinije and Rakeem Christmas. Here are three observations from the Orange’s win over the 49ers.Wing players stepping upSyracuse’s early-season offense has been centered around Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough throughout the better part of the nonconference season. Trevor Cooney made just 13 of his first 46 3s on the season and Michael Gbinije made three of his first 21.But on Sunday, that duo combined for 40 points and played the entire game in the 85-67 win. Gbinije’s 24 were a career high, and Cooney continued his resurgence after an atrocious start to his season.With Syracuse down 21-17 early, the pair hit three 3s — two by Cooney — in the span of 65 seconds to give the Orange a 26-21 advantage, a lead it would hold the rest of the way.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe press paid dividends Jim Boeheim has been known to employ the press in times of desperation — mainly when SU is down big to teams it shouldn’t be — and he did again today. After a Gbinije jump shot cut the 49ers lead to 14-8, the Orange press forced David Samuels into an errant pass and Christmas turned it into a three-point play.Cooney forced a turnover just seconds later, and it would turn into a Gbinije layup. Kaleb Joseph converted on a McCullough steal right after as SU completed an 11-0 run.Tyler Roberson coming up bigThe sophomore didn’t get a chance to make much of a difference in the first half, missing his only shot. But when his number got called in the second frame, he played well.The forward connected on 3-of-6 from the field, including a slam dunk on an outlet pass from Gbinije to put the Orange up 12 with 4:34 to play and on its way to an 18-point victory. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
Clonmel’s Dean Gardiner says he’ll be aiming to use his experience to win gold at the inaugural European Games in June. The Tipp man has been included in the Irish Team to travel to Baku next month alongside a total of 63 athletes who will take part in the competition across 14 different sports.Dean Gardiner will compete in the super-heavyweight division and he says his hard training is paying off. The games will get underway on the 12th June.
“Also Patrice Evra, who always spoke loudly to instil confidence in the team. Today, I know he makes ‘funny’ videos, but please don’t believe that’s all he is, as he is also a super professional and a super-intelligent guy.” Former Dutch striker, Robin van Persie, is more popular for his time at Arsenal but he spent a few successful years at Man Utd as well.He appears to have enjoyed his time there, showering praise on some of the players he took to the field with.When asked to name his favourite out of all the people he played with, he told So Foot that it would be tough as each of them had their qualities.Credit: PA “He speaks five languages – even Korean! His physical appearance shows how professional he is. His mind is as strong as his body.”van Persie featured for the Red Devils from 2012 to 2015, scoring 48 goals during that time. “[Ryan] Giggs was the flamboyant player, always giving the impression of being in his comfort zone. Still in great shape at 39! He did yoga and lived football all the time.”van Persie’s strike partner, Wayne Rooney also came up for mention with the Dutchman saying: “Rooney was impressive in his own style too. The guy was always full on.”His final pick was Man Utd’s charismatic former left-back, Patrice Evra.According to van Persie, Evra was a leader in the team who was able to lift the players when they were not at their best. “I think you always have to be yourself, and these players were strong because they expressed their own nature.”His first two choices were Man United’s first-choice centre back pair of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. “[Nemanja] Vidic was a warrior. He put his head where normally it’s scary to do so. He did anything to win. [Rio] Ferdinand, he was more ‘elegant’, comfortable with the ball, strong in aerial play, good in long play.”Ryan Giggs was in the twilight of his career when van Persie joined from Arsenal but he believes the no-Wales manager still retained a lot of the flair he had when he was younger.