Syracuse men's basketball falls short against Miami in ACC Tournament

Hurricanes top SU, 62-57, despite 22 points from White, at the Barclays Center.

In what some considered a must-win for the Syracuse men’s basketball team (18-14), Miami (21-10) seemingly locked up its spot in the NCAA Tournament with a 62-57 victory. Contrary, Syracuse loses once again in the ACC Tournament (0-3) and more importantly jeopardizes its tournament hopes come Sunday.

Center Taurean Thompson hit his first three shots to give Syracuse the early lead, but Miami responded by capitalizing on turnovers and mounting a 10-0 run. After that, it was a game of catch-up for the Orange.

"The committee is looking for teams that can win games in the tournament. I think we can.”
- Jim Boeheim

Led by forward Kamari Murphy — who totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds — three of the five Hurricane starters finished in double-digit scoring. Guard DJ Vasiljevic came off the bench and scored 13, including two 3-pointers late in the clock to help the Hurricanes regain momentum.

Yet, the game was never out of Syracuse’s reach. John Gillon, limited to 8 points on 3-9 shooting, hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to cut Miami’s lead to 57-55. Then, Miami’s Ja'Quan Newton extended the Hurricanes' lead to 59-55 with 16 seconds. Gillon’s next attempt came with two seconds remaining and Syracuse down by three — the shot barely touched rim.

“He’s made two of them this year,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said about the game’s final possession. “It was the absolute right shot.”

Andrew White III followed up his spectacular 40-point performance against Georgia Tech on Saturday with a game-high 22 points. Tyus Battle had 14 points and hit three of his six 3-point attempts. Tyler Lydon added 5 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Entering the game, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi projected Syracuse as one of the last eight teams in the NCAA Tournament. With the loss, the Orange sit squarely on the bubble.  

“We started off pretty rough in the beginning, but we battled back,” Battle said about SU’s tournament chances. “We’re confident in playing against anyone. We proved that throughout the year.”

Following the game, Boeheim shared his thoughts about Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament chances as well.

“We are universally felt to be the number one conference in the country,” Boeheim said. “We finished tied for seventh [in the ACC]…I know our profile is better this year than last year in terms of top wins…The committee is looking for teams that can win games in the tournament. I think we can.”

Syracuse finished the season with a 2-11 record in games away from the Carrier Dome. Syracuse recorded quality wins over Florida State, Duke and Virginia — three teams which at one point were ranked in the AP top-10. But, the Orange suffered bad losses in the Carrier Dome to Georgetown and St. John's and as well at Boston College.

The NCAA Tournament field will be selected on Sunday, March 12. 

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