Syracuse edges Arizona State, 60-56, to get to NCAA Tournament Round of 64

first_imgArizona State went on a run to start the second half, scoring the first eight points. Syracuse responded to close the gap. Then both teams put on a clinic of poor offense. The game was marred by turnovers, missed jumpers and exasperated looks by both coaches.But then ASU got going. Kodi Justice, who missed his first four 3-pointers, knocked one down. Brissett responded with his own long ball, but ASU got a look on the inside and then Justice knocked down another 3. SU called a timeout, down seven with seven minutes to go.“There was a lot of time left. No matter how much time was up there, we knew we still had a chance,” Brissett said. “Seven points, that’s not hard for us to get back. We’ve been down a lot more. We’ve been able to do it.”Syracuse’s Big 3 responded. Howard, who was less than 100 percent in the game after battling back from a bout with strep throat, hit a short floater. Brissett, who finished with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds, hit an and-1, then a short stepback jumper over Justice.That tied the game up. Then, Battle had a one-on-one with ASU guard Tra Holder. Battle used a crossover than turned Holder around, rose up and knocked down a 3-pointer that caused the University of Dayton Arena to erupt.“The Tournament is a different feel,” Howard said. “You know that’s your last game. If you lose you’re done. That just clicked in for all of us.”And then the Orange defense locked down. Arizona State missed four 3-pointers in the last 1:30 of game time. On the last play, Shannon Evans II caught the ball in the corner. Marek Dolezaj ran out on him, forcing Evans to sidestep him. It created a clean look, but his 3-pointer missed. The Orange had done just enough.There have been moments this year when that hasn’t been enough against the best. When Syracuse hung around at Virginia before eventually losing the game. When the Orange tied the game up with two minutes left at home against North Carolina but couldn’t hold on for a victory.But in a sporting spectacle littered with the unexpected, Syracuse’s “same old” was the magic it needed.“That’s been us all season,” Brissett said. “We have that extra go that a lot of other teams don’t have. Down the stretch we want to play those big games. When it’s crunch time like that, that’s what gets us up even more.“Whenever it’s like that, don’t count us out, because we’re going to be right there.” Comments Published on March 14, 2018 at 11:26 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+center_img DAYTON, Ohio — For nearly every Syracuse player, this environment was different. Frank Howard is the only member of this year’s Orange team to have played in the NCAA Tournament — and that involved averaging 10 minutes per game in the Tournament two years ago in SU’s run to the Final Four.Early on Wednesday, he was at the forefront. He picked up two early turnovers and forced a bad 3-pointer. It prompted SU head coach Jim Boeheim to yell at Howard to come over and get an earful, with Boeheim ending it with an impassioned, “Let’s go.” Howard responded with a 3-pointer, followed by a steal and transition layup.And like they have all season, Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett followed suit. Each player knocked down a 3-pointer, with Battle hitting a few more field goals and Brissett doing work at the free-throw line.The NCAA Tournament is known for unexpected storylines. Role players find a modicum of star power and mid majors become giant slayers. It’s March Madness.But most of Wednesday night was a reminder that for No. 11 Syracuse (21-13, 8-10 Atlantic Coast), there would only be more of the same. The Orange has been down to seven available rotation players, with the two bench players battling through nagging injuries, since February. SU only had one main rotation player from last year return and features four freshmen in its seven-player rotation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd just like they have in nearly every game this season, Battle, Brissett and Howard willed an anemic offense to score points, just enough points to let the Orange’s lockdown defense do the rest. Like it has so many other times this year, it played a close game against No. 11 seed Arizona State (20-12, 8-10 Pacific-12), with the lead not getting larger than seven on either side. In the end, it was just barely enough in a 60-56 win over the Sun Devils in the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena.“It was a great effort, great physical effort and that’s every game we played this year,” Boeheim said. “It’s nothing different, nothing new.”MORE COVERAGE: Paschal Chukwu’s clutch free-throw shooting seals No. 11 Syracuse 60-56 victory over No. 11 Arizona StateFrank Howard ‘not anywhere close to right’ in Syracuse’s 60-56 win over Arizona StateGallery: Syracuse earns first round berth in NCAA Tournament with 60-56 win over Arizona Statelast_img

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