Syracuse men head to Sweet 16, women advance to NCAA tournament second round

Syracuse celebrates after defeating West Virginia in NCAA Tournament second round. / Courtesy: NCAA

Syracuse men upset West Virginia, women get redemption from 2019 tournament loss to South Dakota State.

Posted: Mar 21, 2021 11:59 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2021 9:25 AM

NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament: Second Round
#11 Syracuse 75, #3 West Virginia 72

The Orange are still dancing. 

Syracuse men's basketball is heading to the Sweet Sixteen.

It was a nail biter in Indianapolis as junior guard Buddy Boeheim walked to the charity stripe and drained three free throws with 30 seconds remaining to ultimately seal the win for the Orange.

Boeheim scored a game-high 25 points - 22 of which came in the second half - followed by 12-point contributions from Marek Dolezaj, Joseph Girard III and Quincy Guerrier.

The Orange would shoot 6/8 from behind the arc throughout the first 10 minutes of the game and their 3-2 zone would interrupt West Virginia's offense holding them to go 9/28 from the field in the first 20 minutes. Syracuse would lead 35-29 at the end of the first.

In the remaining 10 minutes of the second half, Syracuse would outscore the Mountaineers 18-6 to obtain an 11-point lead with two minutes left to play.

West Virginia would have one last opportunity to tie the game with less than 5 seconds remaining but a traveling violation forced by an Orange defensive trap gave Syracuse the possession and the win.

“I can't even describe it. It’s something I've dreamed about my whole life and to win two games we were doubted in both as the underdog,” said Buddy Boeheim. “This means everything. I mean, if you were to ask me a month or two months ago where I think we would be I don't think I would say the Sweet Sixteen that's for sure. We’ve been doubted before but we just continue to keep going and proving people wrong.”

“I thought the first half we played the best defense we played all year long,” said Jim Boeheim. “We wanted to stay back on Culver when he tried to drive to draw the charge. I thought the determination we show today - you know we miss shots, Buddy he missed open shots he's been making the last few weeks and at halftime Jerry talk to him and said just keep going, keep looking for him and everybody kept looking for him and he knocked some huge shots done when they had us in a lot of trouble.”

This marks Jim Boeheim's 20th Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Up next: the Orange face #2 Houston this weekend in the Sweet Sixteen.

Courtesy: Syracuse Athletics
This season marks the second time Syracuse has been seeded 11th. The first time was in 2018 when the Orange were the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Syracuse is 3-1 all-time as a No. 11 seed. The 2018 tournament also marks the last time the Orange was placed in the Midwest Region.

NCAA DI Women's Basketball Tournament: First Round
#9 South Dakota State 55, #8 Syracuse 72

For the sixth time in their last seven tournament appearances, Syracuse advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

With a win over South Dakota State on Sunday, the Orange earn redemption from their 2019 tournament upset loss to the Jackrabbits.

Syracuse went on a 22-7 run in the last 10 minutes of play to earn the victory to advance to the second round and get redemption from the 2019 upset loss to SDSU.

The Orange set a program record of 14 blocked shots against SDSU. Junior guard Emily Engstler led all scorers with 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four blocks. Digna Strautmane earned her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior guard Tiana Mangakahia contributed 11 points and threw seven dimes while Kiara Lewis scored 14 points and tallied five assists. Freshman Kamilla Cardoso led the Orange with 6 blocks and scored 12 points.

“It stinks to be in college basketball and have something so big like the NCAA tournament not even in vision for you in a year,” said Engstler. “So the whole year we've been sacrificing just like Coach Q tells us for this exact tournament and we're here now so we might as well just do everything we can to win and I think we're really excited to play in the second round.”

“Our goal every year is to win a national championship so if you're not in this tournament you can't win the championship,” said Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman. “So we're here and obviously we won our first game and we are advancing on so I'm just really proud of our players. They played tough. It's been a strange year but this is the payment. As I said at the selection show this is the payment and every game is more money in the bank. So I'm just really happy for players, really happy for our program to win this game against a really good team.”

Syracuse will face top-seeded UConn in the second round on Tuesday.

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