Indianapolis, IN – Syracuse’s run to a national title ended Saturday night when the Houston Cougars held the Orange to a NCAA tournament-low 46 points to advance to the Elite 8.
Houston came out with an intensity on defense that Syracuse hasn’t seen this year. The Orange were held to just 25 percent (6/24) shooting from the field and 10 percent (1/10) shooting from three-point range in the first half. The Cougars out-rebounded the Orange 40-31, 11-5 offensive.
“I thought we did a great job fighting back, getting back just before the half. We did a pretty good job defensively but we scored 20 points in a half. We're not going to win. But again, that was a tribute to the defense. Their defense was really terrific. It's the best defense that we've seen this year and they deserve to win,” said Jim Boeheim postgame.
Buddy Boeheim opened up scoring for the Orange finishing a transition layup. The Cougars would jump out to a 10-2 run handing the Orange its largest deficit of the tournament. Just over midway through the half, Syracuse would go on an 11-3 run to make it a three-point game. Boeheim was then fouled on a three-pointer and after making all three attempts tied the game at 20-all with just under five minutes before the halftime break.
Houston responded with a 10-0 run to close out the half and hold a 30-20 lead.
The Cougars made it a 39-28 game within the first four minutes of the second half. Syracuse would go on an 8-2 run to get within four points with about 13 minutes remaining.
Houston took control over the final ten minutes of play outscoring the Orange 12-7 down the stretch including an and-1 opportunity for Justin Gorham after being fouled by Joe Girard III on a foul-line jumper. The Cougars would ultimately earn a 62-46 victory.
Syracuse finishes the season with an 18-10 overall record.
“This is a terrible feeling and it's something that's going to take a while to get over. But just to be in this position coming into today was great. It just shows this team’s resilient and got a group of guys that's going to fight no matter what. Just happy to be a part of this group. It was a lot of fun and the coaches did a great job with us so definitely remember this season forever and everything we battled and I definitely, in a couple weeks, I'll look back on it and be proud,” said Buddy Boeheim.
When asked if he would follow his NBA aspirations this summer and declare for the draft Buddy says, “I will be back. I have a lot of work to do.”