Instant Juice: Syracuse 60, Arizona State 56

Jim Boeheim
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim coaches from the sidelines. Mandatory Photo Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports.

A quick take on Syracuse’s 60-56 win over Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament:

WHAT HAPPENED: With Syracuse clinging to a 58-56 lead with 14 seconds left, Shannon Evans II had a wide open look from the left baseline for a potential game winning 3-pointer. But his shot was short, and Frank Howard rebounded and hit two free throws as the Orange advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

» Related: Why did Syracuse make the NCAA Tournament? Its resume.

ANALYSIS: This game was a microcosm of the Orange’s season, with the zone holding a normally high-powered Sun Devil offense to just 56 points while the Orange struggled to score themselves. Both teams shot 40 percent from the field, with the Orange shooting 7-20 from downtown and ASU at 11-32, which was exactly the kind of pace that favored the Orange. The true test of the team came in the middle of the second half when the Orange fell down 49-42 with 7:04 to go. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said that this team, unlike some of his previous teams, has never given up at any point. And that was exactly the case on Wednesday, with his team immediately responding with an 8-0 run.

HERO: Oshae Brissett led Syracuse with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Tyus Battle (14 points) hit the biggest shot of the game for the Orange. His crossover that set up a 3-pointer with 1:52 left broke a 52-52 tie, and Syracuse never trailed after that. Kodi Justice topped ASU with 15 points to go with five assists.

ZERO: It was a disappointing end to the season for an Arizona State team that climbed to as high as No. 3 in the rankings with wins over current No. 1 seeds Xavier and Kansas. The Sun Devils struggled once conference play started and never regained its footing.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play sixth-seeded TCU and old foe Jamie Dixon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 9:40 p.m. TV: CBS.

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Wes Cheng
About Wes Cheng 2331 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.