The CuseNation.com staff is counting down the top five moments from Syracuse basketball's 2015-16 season. Here is pick number three according to Mike McAllister and Ben Sigel.
McAllister: Boeheim Returns
After missing nine straight games due to suspension from the NCAA's punishment, head coach Jim Boeheim returned to the sideline as the Orange faced one of the top teams in the country in North Carolina. The difference in the team was noticed right away, with an extra bounce in their step.
Syracuse played well for about 34 minutes of the game, but then the defense failed and UNC was able to pull away. Unbeknownst to most, that game was actually a Final Four preview. Despite Syracuse losing and falling to 0-4 in conference play, Boeheim's return was symbolic that this team was far from done.
The crowd came to support their long-time head coach and the atmosphere was electric inside the Carrier Dome.
Sigel: Victory over Duke
Just two days after Syracuse beat Wake Forest on the road, 83-55, behind Trevor Cooney's seven 3-pointers, the Orange had its marquee victory over the season.
SU went into Cameron Indoor Stadium against then-20th-ranked Duke and pulled off the upset, 64-62. Tyler Roberson had his best game of the season, grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds, which set a record at Cameron Indoor for an opposing player. Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson and Tyler Roberson each scored 14 points.
It helped that Duke was without Amile Jefferson, which may have led to SU's dominance on the glass, 49-42, but nonetheless it was a season-changing victory. Without this win, Syracuse may have been on the outside looking in to the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Luke Kennard was coming off a season-high 30 points against Notre Dame, but went scoreless against SU's suffocating 2-3 zone. Gbinije also posted a career-high nine assists against his former school.