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California vs Syracuse

Shooting woes can't stop Syracuse from trip to Sweet 16

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A 12-minute drought without a field goal. Six made baskets in the second half. Fifteen missed free throws.

Those ugly offensive numbers somehow added up to an NCAA tournament win for Syracuse thanks to a suffocating zone defense that took California and its hometown fans out of the game.

C.J. Fair scored 18 points, James Southerland added 14 and the fourth-seeded Orange overcame a horrid offensive performance to beat the 12th-seeded Golden Bears 66-60 on Saturday night and advance to the round of 16 for the second consecutive year.

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"It was not pretty," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Honestly, I don't think I can describe it. It was about as ugly as I think it can get."

Boeheim was talking specifically about the closing minutes, but that sentiment could sum up most of the game on the offensive end. Syracuse (28-9) made just 39 percent of its shots and missed 15 of 41 free throws but frustrated Pac-12 Player of the Year Allen Crabbe and the rest of the Bears with its zone defense to overcome a dismal shooting night.

Richard Solomon scored 22 points for the Bears (21-12), who were trying to reach the round of 16 for the first time in 16 years and just the third time since 1960. They were denied because they couldn't solve Syracuse's defense.

"The zone accomplished what it wanted to," coach Mike Montgomery said. "I was fearful that was going to happen. I knew where the strengths of the zone and what the weaknesses were. I wasn't sure we had the personnel in a day to get done what we needed to get done."

Boeheim earned his 50th career NCAA tournament win as the Orange reached the regional semifinals for the fourth time in five years. This might have been one of the ugliest of those wins as Syracuse struggled to make a basket in the second half, relying on strong play on the defensive end and a parade to the foul line.

The teams combined for just three made baskets in the first 10:50 of the second half and Syracuse went almost six minutes without even taking a shot as Cal committed seven shooting fouls in the opening 6:02. The Orange hit eight of those 14 free throws to extend their lead to 42-30, but went 12:13 without a basket from the field.

"We knew we had an advantage, us guards, being able to get by their guards," Brandon Triche said. "So that's what we wanted to do. I think within the first five minutes or so, we probably created six fouls on their guys and got in the bonus very early."

As frustrated as the Bears and their fans were with the lopsided foul count, Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense was even more confounding. Crabbe found no room to get off a shot, with the Syracuse defenders closing quickly on him even when he caught the ball 25 feet from the basket.

"It's like when a shark smells blood," Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams said. "You just get excited and want to keep going and shut him down some more. We definitely got that feeling and it just pushed us to play defense more."

Point guard Justin Cobbs also struggled against the zone and even when Cal got the ball inside, Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita were there to block or alter the shot.

Cal managed to get a 14-point lead cut down to seven with less than five minutes to go but Southerland and Carter-Williams answered with tough shots at the other end to quiet the crowd and keep Syracuse in control.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Crabbe and Tyrone Wallace got the deficit back down to 58-51 with 1:50 to go and Cal stole the inbound pass, but Crabbe stepped on the sideline to give the Orange the ball back.

Carter-Williams then drew a charge from Cobbs with a minute left and the Orange up seven. Keita's dunk sealed the victory.

The selection committee did Syracuse no favors, making the Orange the only top-four seed sent cross-country for the opening weekend of the tournament. Making matters worse, this game was played about 50 miles from Cal's campus in Berkeley, creating a decided home-court edge for the lower-seeded Bears.

The enthusiasm from the sold-out crowd did little to help Cal on the court in the early going as the Bears appeared jittery against Syracuse's zone defense.

Cal turned the ball over on seven straight possessions early in the game and fell behind 11-2 when Fair hit a 3-pointer following a bad pass from Ricky Kreklow on the other end.

Syracuse had its own problems protecting the ball, committing six early turnovers that kept Cal in the game. The Orange overcame that with their relentless rebounding, getting 12 second-chance points off 10 first-half offensive rebounds, including a layup by Fair that made it 27-15 after Keita missed a dunk.

The Orange led 32-24 at halftime after limiting Crabbe to two shots.

"They keyed in on me," Crabbe said. "I mean, the shots that I thought I would probably get weren't there. They took things away from me."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
California #12 243660
Syracuse #4 «323466
CAL:R. Solomon 22 Pts
CAL:R. Solomon 14 Reb
CAL:J. Cobbs 4 Ast
CUSE:C. Fair 18 Pts
CUSE:J. Southerland 9 Reb
CUSE:M. Carter-Williams 3 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
CaliforniaSyracuse
CAL
Richard Solomon
CUSE
C.J. Fair
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
201311860
California Golden Bears
A. Crabbe, G383-90-04238
R. Solomon, F347-128-13141422
J. Cobbs, G302-91-21445
T. Wallace, G285-130-012412
D. Kravish, F211-32-26334
R. Kreklow, G210-30-03240
R. Thurman, F184-71-22029
B. Smith, G90-00-02000
B. Bak, FDid Not Play
J. Powers, GDid Not Play
C. Behrens, FDid Not Play
G. Frid, CDid Not Play
G. Galvin, GDid Not Play
K. Johnson, GDid Not Play
K. Rodriguez, FDid Not Play
Totals 22-5612-1933142460
 39.3%63.2% 
Syracuse Orange
B. Triche, G401-85-84218
C. Fair, F396-145-860318
M. Carter-Williams, G384-84-923112
J. Southerland, F354-84-492514
R. Christmas, F161-31-25023
B. Keita, C242-47-1070311
J. Grant, F70-10-02010
T. Cooney, G10-00-00000
G. Hoffmann, GDid Not Play
M. Lyde-Cajuste, FDid Not Play
R. DeRemer, GDid Not Play
N. Hart, GDid Not Play
A. Nassar, FDid Not Play
D. Coleman, FDid Not Play
N. Jones, FDid Not Play
M. Gbinije, FDid Not Play
Totals 18-4626-413571666
 39.1%63.4% 
Pac 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Arizona0-05-041
UCLA0-04-0177
Washington0-03-0107
Stanford0-04-115
California0-03-1106
Colorado0-03-1113
Oregon St.0-03-1100
Utah0-02-1154
Arizona St.0-03-2166
Oregon0-03-281
USC0-03-388
Wash. State0-01-2173

ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Miami (Fla.)0-06-087
Duke0-05-031
Virginia0-05-024
Louisville0-04-091
N.C. State0-04-046
Georgia Tech0-03-022
N. Carolina0-03-045
Notre Dame0-04-1126
Syracuse0-04-1192
Clemson0-03-2338
Pittsburgh0-03-2141
Wake Forest0-03-297
Va. Tech0-02-2280
Boston College0-02-3121
Florida St.0-02-3132
 
Other games
VCU 53 Final
MICH 78
MEMP 48 Final
MIST 70
CSU 56 Final
LOU 82
HARV 51 Final
ARIZ 74
ORE 74 Final
STL 57
BUT 72 Final
MU 74
WICH 76 Final
GONZ 70