March Madness running diary: SU vs. UNC-Asheville
For basketball fans across America, March Madness is equivalent to Christmas. And what better way to celebrate than with a running diary of the No. 1 seed Syracuse’s game against UNC-Asheville?
3:19: Just a few minutes away from the tip-off.
3:23: Fab Melo is the immediate topic for the game. Reggie Miller says that SU needs to rely on Scoop Jardine’s senior leadership.
3:30: One minute in, Rakeem Christmas with a dunk. Fab who?
3:35: Dion Waiters subs in and immediately scores. Hopefully this becomes a theme for SU’s time in the tournament. Next possession, Waiters with a breakaway layup.
3:41: Baye Kieta scores for the first time since Feb. 13. This shows yet again how deep SU’s bench truly is.
3:43: With eight minutes in, Asheville is completely outworking SU and the game is tied 13-13.
3:51: SU is down 21-17 and Asheville is totally outplaying them and showing no fear.
3:53: Waiters has nine already; he is single-handedly keeping SU in the game.
4:05: The score, 25-22 Asheville leading Syracuse with 5 minutes left in the half.
4:06: Boeheim calls his first “For Christ’s sake, guys, really?” timeout of the game.
4:13: SU is finally starting to attack the basket and seems to be gaining confidence toward the end of the half.
4:15 Len Elmore finally points out that SU will have success by getting Asheville in foul trouble.
4:20: SU goes into the half down 34-30. Asheville’s coach says that his team is playing “about as well as we hoped too.” I’d say having the lead as a No. 16 seed playing against the No.1 seed is playing pretty well.
4:39: Second half begins, Christmas’s dunk attempt gets blocked by the rim. McDonald’s All-American, everybody!
4:47: Waiters shoots and hits the top of the backboard, followed by a tip in from James Southerland. The game is now tied at 43.
4:56: Southerland continuing to play well. He finally seems to be out of his month long shooting slump. SU up 50-48 with nine minutes left.
5:05: Joseph with a (yes, I’m saying it) clutch and-one to pit SU up 5 with six minutes left.
5:08: Big crowd is starting to gather as many of them are hoping SU goes down in flames. My basketball polygamist RA says that it would be “so awesome” for a No. 1 to lose to a No. 16. Resisting so many urges at this point.
5:11: Southerland with a HUGE shot to put SU up 8 with two minutes left.
5:15: Asheville’s newfound half court trap is causing a ton of problems for SU.
5:17: The city of Syracuse just caught a huge break. Asheville gets completely hosed on a conveniently timed lane violation call. Would have been Asheville’s ball, down by four with 80 seconds left, but instead Scoop makes both free throws to make it a six-point game.
5:19: Lightning strikes again as Triche has the ball go off his hands but it’s somehow ruled SU’s ball. With 34 seconds left, SU goes to the line after a foul to ice the game. Scoop makes both free throws to secure the win. Even as a diehard SU fan, Asheville deserved a lot better than to have the game come down to those miserable calls.
5:21: Final score is 72-65, Syracuse with the win.
It’s 70 degrees out and the sun is shining. It’s definitely not Christmas but the energy and excitement signifies that it is indeed the beginning of March Madness.