At the final buzzer, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim stood with his hands hanging by his side and sighed. He is 68, and there is little he has...
WASHINGTON — At the final buzzer, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim stood with his hands hanging by his side and sighed. He is 68, and there is little he has not seen. Even a victory that sends his team to the Final Four, as Saturday’s 55-39 victory over Marquette did, elicits not exaltation but exhalation.
“I’m happy; I’m thrilled,” Boeheim later said in a flat voice that sounded neither happy nor thrilled.
But he let a wry smile envelop his long, angular face when the topic was longevity and its usefulness.
“Yeah, I’m coaching as I always have and there’s something to say for that,” Boeheim said. “As a younger coach you change some things. As you get older, you don’t change a lot.”
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It was an ugly game but it could also be viewed as a time-capsule moment for a disappearing genre: an old-fashioned Big East basketball game.
So much looked familiar. There was Syracuse in its 2-3 zone, a wide, impenetrable Orange sea wall repulsing any foray into the paint. Syracuse’s conservative, fuddy-duddy zone has been doing this to teams since President Obama — who was at the game — was in high school. The names change for Syracuse, the uniform shorts get longer, but Boeheim is still on the sideline yelling commands to a defense that has few holes and fears only a hot outside shooter.
The Syracuse defenders stand with their hands in the air, mimicking Boeheim, who is doing the same thing in front of the bench, and they wait for a miss. When that result comes, a gangly Syracuse player grabs the rebound and a gaggle of orange-clad players run the floor and finish with a flourish.
It could have been 1983, or 2003. It was 2013 with Syracuse in the Final Four again. Old-style Big East basketball gets another day in the sun, even though Syracuse is heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I hope Syracuse wins the national championship,” said Marquette coach Buzz Williams, whose hardy team was forced into dozens of poor shots. “We will miss not having them in our league. I’m definitely rooting for Syracuse.”
Syracuse (30-9) was led by James Southerland’s 16 points. Michael Carter-Williams was named the East Regional’s top player after accounting for 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals and only one turnover.
Marquette (26-9) made only 12 of 53 shots — 23 percent — and was 3 for 24 on three-pointers.
|Lowest-scoring regional finals|
|In the men’s NCAA tournament, the lowest scoring regional finals since 1986 (shot-clock era):|
|94||Syracuse 55, Marquette 39, 2013 East Regional|
|95||UCLA 50, Memphis 45, 2006 Oakland Regional|
|110||Syracuse 63, Oklahoma 47, 2003 East Regional|
|114||North Carolina 59, Tulsa 55, 2000 South Regional|
|Fewest Points by one team|
|39||Marquette (Syracuse 55-39), 2013 East Regional|
|45||Memphis (UCLA 50-45), 2006 Oakland Regional|
|47||Oklahoma (Syracuse 63-47), 2003 East Regional|
|50||Navy (Duke 71-50), 1986 East Regional|
|51||Arizona (Utah 76-51), 1998 West Regional|