Reaction from players, as Syracuse ends season in Sweet 16


OMAHA – Syracuse's (23-14) magical run in the NCAA Tournament comes to an end in the Sweet 16 after a 69-65 loss to Duke (29-7) Friday night at CentruyLink Center.

Sophomore Tyus Battle led the Orange with 19 points and five assists. Freshman Oshae Brissett added 15 points with seven rebounds and freshman Marek Dolezaj totaled 13 points.

Marvin Bagley III paced the Blue Devils with 22 points and eight rebounds. Grayson Allen finished with 15 points and eight assists and Wendell Carter Jr. posted 14 points with 12 boards.

How it was Decided

Syracuse trailed by nine (62-53) with 4:14 remaining but made one last run. Brissett made a layup, Battle drained a 3-pointer and Brissett knocked down a jumper to narrow the gap to 63-60 with 1:26 remaining.

Duke's Gary Trent Jr. stretched the Duke lead back to five with a jumper. After the two sides traded a pair of free throws, a Dolezaj tip-in pulled Syracuse within three, 67-64, with 13 seconds to play.

The Orange fouled on the ensuing possession and the Blue Devils' Grayson Allen missed the front-end of the 1-and-1, giving Syracuse the ball with 12 seconds remaining.

Duke elected to foul and prevented the Orange from attempting a potential game-tying three. Battle made 1-of-2 free throws to trim the deficit to 62-60.

Trent Jr. sealed the victory for the Blue Devils with a pair of free throws with six seconds to go.

Game Summary

Paschal Chukwu threw down two alley-oops in the first five minutes and the two teams were tied at nine heading into the first media timeout. Back-to-back dunks from Dolezaj and Chukwu, sandwiched between a block by Brissett, put Syracuse in front by four. Duke scored 10 of the next 14 points to take a 19-17 lead.

The Orange zone started to slow the Duke offense, holding the Blue Devils without a field goal for a stretch of 5:25. Two 3-pointers from Battle and two free throws from Frank Howard countering three Duke free throws left Syracuse ahead 27-24 with 5:20 to play in the first half.

The Blue Devils closed the half on a 10-0 run and took a 34-27 lead into halftime.

Howard made a floater on the first possession of the second half to snap a scoreless spurt of 5:34. The Orange got a stop on the other end and Brissett made a tough layup in traffic, trimming the deficit to three, which forced a Duke timeout.

The teams traded a pair of buckets and Dolezaj knocked down a jumper to pull Syracuse within one. The Blue Devils went on a 10-2 run to stretch their lead to nine.

Dolezaj hit a jumper, Brissett drained two free throws and Dolezaj made a floater to bring the Orange back within three with 8:51 to go. Duke stretched its lead back to six three times over the following 3:12.

Dolezaj made a free throw to pull Syracuse within five and the Blue Devils answered with back-to-back field goals to take a 62-53 lead with 4:14 to play.

Numbers of Note

The Orange finished the game shooting 25-of-51 from the field (.490) and held Duke to 22-of-56 (.393) from the floor, including 5-of-26 (.192) on 3-point attempts.

Battle scored in double digits for the 35th time in 37 games this season.

Chukwu finished with eight points and seven boards and Frank Howard added six points, eight rebounds and five assists to the Orange totals

All four games for the Orange in the 2018 NCAA tournament were decided by five or fewer points. This was the first time in the big dance that Syracuse was unable to overcome a halftime deficit.

The game featured the two winningest coaches in Division I history -- Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, who ranks second all-time, and leader Mike Krzyzewski from Duke.

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