Jim Boeheim doesn’t understand the fuss.
Yes, the Orange got a big scare in its game Thursday against 16-seed UNC Asheville. But he disagrees with any assessment that holds the East’s No. 1 seed got favorable calls from the referees or that ‘Cuse didn’t deserve the win.
“I don’t think luck had anything to do with this game today,” the Orange coach Jim Boeheim said, “and I think the better team won.”
A No. 1 seed has never lost to a 16 seed since the NCAA tournament expanded to the 64-team format in 1985. Yet the Orange were trailing with barely six minutes remaining. To avoid making more NCAA tourney history – Syracuse was the first 2 seed to lose to a 15 in a tourney game – it needed some clutch plays.
The Orange were staring at NCAA tournament history. A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed, and they were trailing North Carolina-Asheville with just over 6 minutes to play. But thanks to a few James Southerland baskets and a UNC Asheville cold spell, they led 66-61 when Asheville’s J.P. Primm made two free throws to cut into the lead.
And that’s when things got hairy. ‘Cuse appeared to lose the ball out of bounds, but the officials signaled it would retain possession.
Coordinator of Officiating John Adams later said he would’ve given the ball to Asheville, but that’s not what ref Ed Corbett told the AP:
“The out of bounds is not reviewable and it is not a play we would discuss,” official Ed Corbett told a pool reporter. “I’m not going to comment further because it is a judgment call. It was a clear (lane) violation. The player released early, before the ball hit the rim. We’ve since watched the replay 20 times and it was the right call.”
Boeheim had his own take on the play with Triche.
“First of all, all the noise about the ball going out of bounds, I mean, Triche got pushed. That’s why it went out of bounds,” he said. “Maybe they missed the out of bounds, they missed the foul call. Those things equal out.”
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