|Posted on March 16, 2018 at 11:55 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
Stop me if you have heard this before: Jim Boeheim will be opposite Jamie Dixon on the sidelines of a head-to-head match-up.
Now wipe the tears away of missing the old Big East and what the Pittsburgh Panthers versus Syracuse Orange rivalry felt like back when Dixon was at the helm of Pittsburgh.
We are in the NCAA Tournament now, and it is Boeheim versus Dixon, but the TCU Horned Frogs against the Syracuse Orange this time around.
After a hiatus of two regular seasons without coaching against one another, Boeheim and Dixon were ready to lead their respective squads in this one, a game that saw five lead changes in the first eight minutes and change.
A jumper in the lane by true freshman center Bourama Sidibe gave the lead back to the Orange at the 12:03 mark of the first half, 12-11.
True freshman forward Marek Dolezaj released a shot in the lane that dropped into the nylon and followed with a quick release from beyond the arc that beat the shot clock.
Before making this shot from beyond the arc, Dolezaj had only one made three-pointer in 34 games in this his first collegiate season.
Fellow true freshman forward Oshae Brissett made a move and had a relatively wide-open lane, but missed. Fear not, as Dolezaj cleaned up at the rim, giving him 13 points with approximately four minutes before the half.
The Orange missed an alley-oop opportunity and the Horned Frogs attained theirs at the other end, bringing the Horned Frogs within one of the Orange, 27-26.
That play at the rim was completed by TCU senior guard Kenrich Williams, who had an encore play with one second left on the game clock, also at the rim, giving TCU the lead at the half, 28-27.
Before the Horned Frogs gained the lead with one second remaining in the first half, the Orange had held the advantage for 12 minutes and two seconds, from the 12:03 mark to the moment Williams laid it in with one second left before the break.
In the second half, TCU was the first to score, courtesy of senior forward Vladimir Brodziansky's layup 51 seconds in.
Brissett would respond immediately with a baseline jumper, but Brodziansky would reply to that with another layup, getting the Horned Frogs ahead by three, 32-29.
Dolezaj would finish an alley try by junior guard Frank Howard who sent him the ball in transition that he slammed home, and would seemingly be looking to send his own alley try to the rim that ended up going in, bringing Syracuse within one, 34-33.
Sophomore shooting guard Tyus Battle would connect from long range to give the lead to the Orange for the first time in the second half, 36-34. This three already out-scored his total from the first half, two points.
Williams would continue to capitalize around the rim, dunking the ball to tie the game at 36-all at the 14:16 mark.
A free throw by junior forward J.D. Miller would bring the lead back to the Horned Frogs at 37-36 shortly after.
Sidibe, who had gotten the lead back for Syracuse approximately eight minutes into the first half, did it again with 11:18 to go in the game when he fought to keep possession for Syracuse and elevated for two at the rim to make it 38-37 Orange.
TCU would come within one of Syracuse five times in the final six minutes and 46 seconds of the game.
Junior center Paschal Chukwu, standing at 7'2", would knock down two free throws to give the Orange a 50-47 lead, and when the Horned Frogs came within one, Battle would elevate in the lane for a difficult one-handed make to get out to three points of separation, at 52-49.
A leaner in the lane followed by junior point guard Frank Howard, bringing the Orange out to a five-point lead, 54-49, with just over a minute to play.
Redshirt-freshman forward Matthew Moyer came up big in the final 30 seconds, attaining possession by the TCU basket and going 1-for-2 at the charity stripe to extend the Orange out to a 55-50 lead.
Chukwu did what any big man does not do, and continued to make free throws, going 2-for-2 to end the game as Syracuse moves on to face the Michigan State Spartans in the Round of 32, following a 57-52 victory.
The freshmen led all scorers for the Orange, with Dolezaj getting to 17, three shy of his single-game career-high of 20 (versus the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the first round of the 2018 ACC Tournament), and Brissett finishing with 13.
Williams and Brodziansky led the way for the Horned Frogs, with 14 and 13, respectively.
Syracuse is now 22-13 on the season, and lives to fight another day.