Ranking the 5 Most Clutch Players in Orange History

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJune 11, 2013

Ranking the 5 Most Clutch Players in Orange History

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    There's nothing like a game-winning shot at the buzzer in college basketball, but you need a player with ice in his veins to hit a clutch shot like that.

    Luckily for Syracuse fans, the Orange have had a ton of clutch players over the years. Whenever the Orange need a big shot, they have someone to rely on, and a few guys have proven that they can always be relied on in the final minute.

    Let's countdown the top five clutch players in Syracuse basketball history.

5. John Wallace

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    John Wallace played for Syracuse from 1993-96, averaging double-digit points and at least 7.5 rebounds per game in all four seasons.

    No one moment captures Wallace's incredible knack for clutch plays like his incredible play against Georgia in the 1996 Sweet 16.

    The Orange were up two with time winding down, but an open three with 7.1 seconds left in overtime gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead.

    Most players would have called a timeout and tried to figure out a plan, but Wallace caught Georgia with its guard down, streaking down the court and throwing up an awkward three for the win.

    Nothing but net.

4. Jonny Flynn

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    Jonny Flynn was just one of those iconic guys who make people think of Syracuse. From his orange headband to his knack for hitting clutch shots, he embodied 'Cuse basketball.

    Flynn hit too many big shots to count for Syracuse in his two seasons as starting point guard, and he dropped a few special dimes as well.

    His 16.6 points, 6.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game in his career were special, but what gets him on this list is his 17.447 clutch plus-minus during the 2008-09 season before he left for the NBA.

    This made him the first player since Gerry McNamara to post back-to-back seasons with a clutch plus-minus of at least 15.0 in each season, and he remains the only one to do it since.

3. Dave Johnson

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    Dave Johnson was a solid player in his first two years at Syracuse, but he became a star in his last two.

    Johnson became more clutch as the years progressed, culminating in the biggest shot in Syracuse history during the 1992 Big East Tournament.

    After losing the first three Big East Championship meetings against Georgetown, Syracuse looked to change things in 1992 despite going 18-9 on the year.

    The two teams went back and forth all game until it was knotted at 54 with time expiring. Johnson grabbed the ball and streaked downcourt toward the rim before Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning came out and looked like he would stuff the 'Cuse senior.

    However, Johnson was crafty and lofted the shot over Mourning's outstretched arms as the buzzer sounded to win the game, 56-54.

2. Carmelo Anthony

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    There isn't a player who played for the Orange who was more talented than Carmelo Anthony. While he only played one season at Syracuse, Anthony proved to be next to unstoppable and led Syracuse to its only national championship.

    Without Anthony, the team would not have won it all, as he not only secured close games for the team during the season, but he avoided elimination in the NCAA tournament almost by himself.

    After being up 17 at halftime against Auburn in the Sweet 16, the Orange watched the Tigers slowly chip away at the lead, and they had a chance to win the game near the end.

    However, Anthony dropped 18 points in the second half alone, answering every clutch basket by Auburn with one of his own.

    This is just one game that Anthony won for the Orange (as seen by his 22.2 clutch plus-minus that year), but it's the biggest.

1. Gerry McNamara

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    No one can dispute that Gerry McNamara is the most clutch player in Syracuse history. The kid simply had ice in his veins!

    G-Mac is probably most famous for his ridiculous 2006 Big East Tournament, during which he single-handedly led the Orange to a championship.

    It started with his game-winning three with 0.3 left on the clock against Cincinnati.

    The next night, he hit a game-tying three that forced overtime against No. 1 UConn at the buzzer, and the team would go on to win the game.

    Georgetown was next, as G-Mac nailed five threes, with the last one coming in the final minute and elevating Syracuse to another victory.

    Finally, he would knock down the go-ahead three against Pittsburgh in the finals to win the tournament and secure a bid to the NCAA tournament for the Orange.

    Need I say more?