SAN JOSE, Calif. – In a close back-and-forth battle that came down to the final few minutes, fourth-seeded Syracuse defeated No. 12 Cal, 66-60 in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
With the victory, the Orange is advancing to its 18th NCAA Sweet 16 and third of the last four seasons.
Junior C.J. Fair led the offense with 18 points, registering his 30th double-digit scoring game of the season. Three others joined Fair in double figures including senior James Southerland, sophomore Michael Carter-Williams and junior Baye Moussa Keita. Southerland posted 14, while Carter-Williams and Moussa Keita added 12 and 11, respectively.
Syracuse opened the contest on an 11-4 run, helped out by an early three-pointer from Triche, who posted five of the first eight points. Following a 7-0 spurt, the Golden Bears trimmed the lead to two points at 11-9 with 11:26 remaining in the opening frame.
Southerland answered back with his first three ball of the night to pull SU ahead by five. Cal cut the advantage back to three points with a bucket from Robert Thurman at 14-11. Carter-Williams then followed a slam from Fair with a three-point play to give the Orange an eight-point lead at 19-11.
With less than four minutes remaining in the half, SU took its largest lead of the game at 25-15 following an 8-4 stretch led by Fair, who posted six points. The Bears regrouped and toppled a double-digit lead with two three-point plays from Richard Solomon, but the Orange held on to the advantage, entering the intermission ahead of Cal by eight points at 32-24.
Following the break, the Bears moved within six points of the lead after a three-pointer from Tyrone Wallace. SU responded with a 9-1 run as six different Orange went to the free throw line to increase the advantage to 14 points at 44-30 with 11:11 remaining in the game.
Leading by 12 at 7:18 following a jumper from Carter-Williams, Cal responded with four straight free throws to cut the lead to eight before junior Baye Moussa Keita tipped in a shot and lift SU ahead by 10 at 49-39.
Another layup from Thurman brought the Bears within seven points of the lead at 50-43, but Southerland and Carter-Williams followed with jumpers to bring the Orange back up by double digits.
Syracuse then shot 4-of-6 from behind the line to extend the advantage to as much as 13 points, but the Bears followed with back-to-back three-pointers from Crabbe and Wallace to slash the lead to seven with less than two minutes remaining.
With 22.9 seconds remaining, the Bears failed to convert a three-point play and then fouled, sending Fair to the line, where he made both shots to settle the score at 66-58. Despite a layup from Solomon, the Orange held on to the advantage, defeating Cal 66-60.