The UNC-Asheville Bulldogs did a fantastic job of competing with the Syracuse Orange for the duration of their game, but they just couldn't quite execute often enough on offense and on the boards to pull off the stunning upset. They scored often enough to hang with Syracuse and played outstanding defense, but their star Matt Dickey was just 1-12 from the field, leading to the Orange's 72-65 win.
Fab Melo's absence didn't affect Syracuse on the boards, as they grabbed a fantastic 15 offensive rebounds. They didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but did a great job of converting on second chance opportunities.
Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche all shot the ball poorly, so it was the 'Cuse bench that guided them to the narrow win. As a unit, they scored 31 points on 12-19 shooting. UNC-A had three players score in double figures, but they couldn't overcome Dickey's struggles.
With the Bulldogs trailing by four points late in the second half, Scoop Jardine went to the free throw line and missed, but he was made to retake because of a lane violation. Except it wasn't a lane violation on UNC-A. See for yourself.
Asheville overcame that and got it back within one possession on multiple occasions. On one of those occasions, inexplicably, Triche deflected the ball out of bounds. The referees missed this and gave the ball to the Orange, forcing them to foul to extend the game. They were unable to get back into the game, and Syracuse went on to win. The crowd booed the officials ferociously on a repeated basis in the final minute.
Syracuse advance the Kansas State Wildcats who, after watching this game, will be confident that they are capable of an upset.
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