Basketball: Will ‘Cuse be a Garden party for Cal?

Syracuse — Cal’s semifinal opponent in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament Nov. 19 at Madison Square Garden — wasn’t quite ready for the big stage in its exhibition opener Tuesday night.

Le Moyne College, a Division II team from Syracuse, upset the 25th-ranked Orange 82-79.

“Le Moyne really outplayed us from the beginning of the game to the end,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “They [the Orange] are very, very young mentally. They really have got to grow up. We couldn’t stop them on the dribble. That’s something we’ve been looking at in practice.”

“It’s just embarrassing the way we played,” said senior guard Andy Rautins, born and raised in Syracuse. “It’s embarrassing to ourselves and our fans. It wasn’t luck that they won. They came out and beat us fair and square.”

Le Moyne coach Steve Evans, who brought an experiened team to the game, said future opponents shouldn’t underestimate Syracuse.

“I feel bad that the story tomorrow will be, ‘What’s wrong with Syracuse basketball?’ I don’t think there’s anything wrong,” he said. “They’ve got tremendous players. It’s an exhibition game. They’re young. They’re going to be terrific.”

Jeff Faraudo