Shortly before Midnight Eastern time, Syracuse crushed the glass slipper of Gonzaga, the closest thing left to a Cinderella in this year’s upside down tournament. The Orange trailed by one at the halftime break, and one with just 30 seconds left on the clock, but Michael Gbinije saved the day, as he has all season long, and gave the Orange a 61-60 lead with 22 seconds left on the clock.
Syracuse didn’t lead until the early part of the second half, and the Orange and Bulldogs went back and forth in a see-saw affair the entire frame. It was a two man show for the Bulldogs, as Kyle Wiltjer led the way with 15 points in the first half on his way to a game high 23. And Damantas Sabonis put up 19 points, with the majority coming in the second half.
The Orange were led by Michael Gbinije with 20 points, and Trevor Cooney with 15. Malachi Richardson struggled in the game shooting just 3-for-14 from the field. Fellow freshman Tyler Lydon struggled as well shooting just 1-for-5, but coming up huge on the defensive end.
Lydon’s play from this game that will be remembered, of course, is his block in the waning seconds to seal the win. However, in the first half, Lydon stuck tough with Sabonis as he tried to work in the center of the zone defense. Lydon bodied up Sabonis for much of the first half, and limited Sabonis’ offensive game. Lydon truly was a game changer on the defensive end in the first half.
So the Orange moves on and gets a matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers, who beat SU back on January 24th in Charlottesville 73-65. It will be an all-ACC matchup in the Elite 8, one of two on the “right side” of the NCAA Tournament bracket.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg