With KU leading 76-75 in overtime, Syracuse took control of the game with a 10-0 run. KU went just 3 of 11 from the field and 2 of 4 from the free throw line in the extra period. The Orange, meanwhile, connected on 5 of 8 shots and 6 of 9 from the line in OT.
The Jayhawks looked to be headed to their fourth straight victory
leading 51-38 with 15:18 remaining in the game before Syracuse went on
a blistering 16-3 run, including 10 straight points, to tie the game at
54. The Orange took a 57-56 lead before Cole Aldrich nailed a jumper in
the lane with 8:13 left to spark a 7-0 run and give KU a 63-57 lead
with 5:49 remaining.
KU, though, missed three straight free throws as Syracuse stormed back
and tied the game at 69 with 1:15 left on four straight charities by
sophomore guard Jonny Flynn.
Aldrich answered with a short jumper in the lane with 51 seconds
remaining and then stole the ball. He soon got fouled and hit 1 of 2
free throws before Flynn swished a three-pointer with eight seconds
left to tie the game at 72 and force overtime.
Just like the 2003 NCAA finals against Syracuse, free-throw shooting
doomed KU in this game. After making all five charities the first half,
Kansas went just 6 of 15 after halftime. (11-20 FT for the game).
The Orangemen also gave KU fits with their man defense, which they
switched to from zone midway through the second half.
Flynn led the way for Syracuse with 19 of his game-high 25 points after
halftime. Eric Devendorf added 20 points, while Paul Harris (14 points
and 14 rebounds) and Arinze Onuaku (19 points and 12 rebounds) recorded
KU was led by Sherron Collins with 21 points, followed by an impressive
performance from freshman Tyshawn Taylor with 17. Aldrich was a force
inside with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks, while Marcus Morris added a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
After shooting 34.6 percent in the first half, Syracuse got hot and
shot 58.3 percent in the second half. On the flip side, Kansas shot
just 42.9 percent in the second half and 41.9 percent for the contest.
“It was a tough game,” said KU coach Bill Self.
“It was a game we controlled for the most part, (but) had a
couple of real serious dry spells. Of course, Syracuse made some big
plays down the stretch to put them in position to have a chance. Our
inability to make free throws and to put the game away led to them
having a great win. ... At times, we looked pretty good, but we did
lose our composure for a couple of stretches.”
“They just whipped us in their man,” Self added.
“When they went to their man, that’s when they got
better. We were kind of in the hang-on mode as opposed to trying to
Taylor, who gave KU a spark with 11 points and two steals in the first
half, said the Jayhawks lost their poise in the second half and rushed
shots when Syracuse made its run.
“Give credit to them,” Taylor said. “They
played hard, they fought back and they kept their composure, which we
lost. It was just a game we should have won.”
Despite the loss, Self was pleased with how KU competed. Self said the
Jayhawks just need to get “tougher” and
“I think we got better this week even tough this was a tough
one to swallow,” Self said.
The Jayhawks return home to Allen Fieldhouse on Friday where
they’ll host Coppin State at 7 p.m.
Sherron Collins made the All-Tournament team along with Jon Brockman
(Washington), Nick Calathes (Florida), Paul Harris (Syracuse) and Jonny
Flynn (Syracuse). Flynn was named MVP.
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