A quick take on Syracuse’s 55-53 win against Michigan State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in Detroit, Mich:
WHAT HAPPENED: With 49 seconds left and Syracuse up by one, Tyus Battle’s elbow jumper put the Orange up 52-49. Matt McQuaid’s two free throws with seven seconds left pulled Michigan State within one, but Battle and Pascual Chukwu hit three free throws in the closing seconds and Joshua Langford’s prayer from midcourt missed, allowing Syracuse to advance to the Sweet 16. The game played out similarly to the two NCAA games the Orange played against Arizona State and TCU, with the Orange needing to overcome a second half deficit. On Sunday afternoon, SU trailed 48-43 with 5:43 left before a late 7-0 run gave the Orange a 50-48 lead with 4:08 left capped by a Bourama Sidibe free throw.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse needed to play a game at its tempo and pace to win this game, and that’s exactly what happened. The Orange held Michigan State to 25.8 percent shooting from the field and overcame a 29-7 offensive rebounding deficit against the third seeded team in the Midwest region. It even overcame Frank Howard (13 points, 5-10 shooting), who played his best NCAA game, fouling out, in part thanks to an aggressive attacking offense, which got to the free throw line 31 times to the Spartans’ 16. No one expected the Orange to get this far, yet SU is heading to Omaha.
HERO: Oshae Brissett’s 15 points and nine rebounds paced Syracuse, with Tyus Battle scoring 16 of his 17 points after halftime. After Howard fouled out, walk-on Braedon Bayer came on and played the final six minutes, and added a key steal and a block.
ZERO: Jaron Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges, widely considered first rounders in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, had forgettable games. Jackson Jr. finished with two points on 0-4 shooting while Bridges went 4-18 from the field for 11 points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse faces ACC foe Duke in the Sweet 16 in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday. Game time TBD.