Though given a no. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament after its inspired run to the Big East championship game, Syracuse’s men’s basketball team had to travel nearly 3,000 miles to California in order to start its run at a second national title.
But the travel did not bother the Orange – especially on the defensive side – as it crushed no. 13 seed Montana and held off no. 12 seed California at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, advancing to its fourth Sweet 16 in five years.
It started in the round of 64 as SU demolished Montana 81-39. It was the most lopsided SU victory in an NCAA game since they beat Brown in the first round 101-52 in 1986.
Brandon Triche scored 20 points, while C,J. Fair added 13 points. Meanwhile, the Orange’s 2-3 zone shutdown Montana throughout the game as the Grizzlies were hammered into submission.
“It was just one those games where they could not do anything right and everything fell right for us,” said coach Jim Boeheim. “We played well in New York and we continued that tonight on both ends of the court. Our defense was good. Our offense was good. And everybody, really had a good game. It was just our night.”
Michael Carter-Williams chimed in with four points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Orange. Syracuse dominated from start to finish, its lead that grew to as many as 50 points in the second half against the Grizzlies, who finished at 25-7.
SU out-rebounded Montana 40-33 and piled up 21 assists. 12 steals and five blocked shots. In his most extended playing time in a long while, Dajuan Coleman contributed 12 points and six rebounds and his defense, combined with center Baye Moussa Keita, made it very hard for the Grizzlies to penetrate through the zone and score.