For a change, the focus was on who played well for top-seeded Syracuse, rather than who was not in the lineup or what calls went in the Orange’s favor.
C.J. Fair scored 15 points and Scoop Jardine added 14 and Syracuse allowed just one field goal in the final six minutes to edge fourth-seeded Wisconsin in a South Region round-of-16 game on Thursday night in Boston.
The offensively challenged Badgers stayed in the game with brilliant three-point shooting, particularly late in the shot clock. But with a final chance to win after Syracuse’s Kris Joseph (a former All-Met at Carroll High) missed the front end of a one-and-one with 18.9 seconds left, Wisconsin managed only a pair of incredibly low-percentage shots.
Jordan Taylor’s turnaround 28-footer didn’t touch iron and while it momentarily looked like Mike Bruesewitz might pull a Lorenzo Charles and lay in the rebound, Bruesewitz came down with the ball and his spin-o-rama at the buzzer also was an air ball.
“That’s the best game I’ve seen in a long time, might be one of the best games we’ve ever played,” Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said in a postgame interview on CBS. It was a much different tune to the news surrounding the Orange’s opening weekend of the tournament, which featured some remarkable calls in their opening victory over UNC Ashville while playing without suspended center Fab Melo.
“Wisconsin, I knew they were good but I didn’t know they were this good.. . . I can’t tell you how good it feels to win a [like this] . . . this was a great game.”
Taylor and Jared Berggren scored 17 points apiece for Wisconsin, which finished 26-10.
The Badgers made 14 of 27 three-point attempts, including five by Taylor.
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