Each Thursday over the summer, The Juice Online will be counting down the top 10 moments in the 2012-13 basketball season. We continue our countdown with No. 9, Syracuse’s game against Michigan in the Final Four.
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse’s comeback in the national semifinals fell short in the final minute.
Spotting Michigan 11 points in the first half, the Orange pulled to within 58-56 with 19.2 seconds left, the ball and a chance to tie the game. But Jordan Morgan drew a charge on Brandon Triche, and Jon Horford made a free throw to extend the lead to three.
“I was just trying to make a play for the team,” Triche said of the charge. “I probably should’ve made a better decision. I probably should’ve pulled up for a jumpshot.”
With Syracuse’s backcourt fouled out, the Orange drew up a play for Trevor Cooney, who drove and missed a shot in the lane instead of pulling up for 3. SU went on to lose 61-56.
“They switched on it,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “Trevor had no choice. That was it. He had no choice. He did the best he could in that situation.”
It concluded a miserable offensive night for SU, who shot just 41 percent from the field and three for 14 from downtown. But SU was able to cut into the lead in the second half because of the Wolverine’s struggles from the free-throw line (11 for 20) and Syracuse’s zone, which held the Wolverines to 39 percent from the field.
Afterward, Boeheim was asked if he was going to retire by CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel.
“Why would you ask that question?” Boeheim said. “I expect it from you. I know you.”
Doyel said he would ask it of a 19-year old whether he would be declaring early for the NBA draft.
“If you’re going to say something smart, at least be smart,” Boeheim said. “I’ve never indicated at any time that I’m not coming back next year – ever.”
Cooler heads prevailed after Doyel stepped away for a few minutes, and Boeheim reiterated his commitment to coaching the 2013-14 team.
“The only reason that I would not coach next year is because I didn’t feel I could do a good job or wanted to do it,” Boeheim said. “I have no feeling at all now that that will be the case.”
WHY IT’S NO. 9: Though the final result wasn’t exactly what Syracuse fans were hoping for, the Orange continued its impressive streak of making a Final Four in five straight decades (1978, 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013). It marked the end of an incredible up-and-down season, and after Syracuse’s 61-39 loss to Georgetown to close the regular season, no one could’ve predicted that Syracuse would be playing this late in the season.