Posted February 20, 2014

No. 1 Syracuse falls to Boston College while No. 2 Florida survives scare

ACC, Syracuse Orange
Boston College won just 6 games prior to its upset victory over the undefeated Orange.

Boston College won just six games prior to its upset victory over No.  1 and undefeated Syracuse. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)

Florida and Syracuse both struggled at home Wednesday night, but only No. 2 prevailed. Auburn pushed Florida to the brink of an upset at the O’Connell Center, but a pair of last-minute miscues cost the Tigers. Almost simultaneously, Boston College beat No. 1 Syracuse to hand the Orange their first loss of the season.

Boston College, which had beaten just one team in 2014 (Virginia Tech twice), won 62-59 in overtime. It was an emotional win for the Eagles who are mourning the loss of former basketball sports information director Dick Kelley.

According to KenPom.com, the Orange had a 96 percent chance of beating the Eagles, which were 6-19 heading into the game. In an interview with ESPN after the win, Eagles coach Steve Donahue said he was “speechless.”

Syracuse led by as many as eight points early in the second half, but Boston College slowly sliced the lead. Even so, the Orange appeared close to pulling off another miracle at the end of regulation. Tyler Ennis missed a layup but got his own rebound with 20 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Rakeem Christmas missed a short jumper and the game went to overtime.

Olivier Hanlan started the extra period for Boston College with a 26-foot three-pointer. BC led until Ennis hit a pair of free throws with 1:12 left to put the Orange up 57-56. The Eagles struck back with a Patrick Heckmann layup, and after C.J. Fair came up empty on a drive, the Orange sent Lonnie Jackson to the free-throw line.

Jackson, a 56 percent free-throw shooter, better known for his prowess from beyond the arc, hit both free throws. On the ensuing possession, Rakeem Christmas rebounded a Tyler Ennis miss to keep the Orange within one. When BC inbounded, Syracuse again fouled Jackson; again, Jackson delivered.

The Orange had one last chance, but Trevor Cooney missed a three-ball. Ryan Anderson grabbed the board and launched the ball into the air in celebration. When it landed, the only undefeated team left in the country was Wichita State.

Meanwhile in Gainesville, the Gators trailed at the half for the third game in a row. Featuring six ties and nine lead changes, the game was the definition of back-and-forth. Auburn appeared ready to deliver a knockout punch to the Gators with just under a minute left, but Tahj Shamsid-Deen missed a point-blank layup. The Gators’ Michael Frazier capitalized on the other end with a three from the top of the arc.

Then Auburn absolutely collapsed. Florida’s Will Yeguete sent Chris Denson to the free-throw line, where he hit 1-of-2. On the rebound, Auburn’s Asauhn Dixon-Tatum inexplicably fouled Gators center Patric Young, who then sunk both free throws. With no one in the backcourt to receive the ensuing inbounds pass, the Tigers’ Allen Payne threw the ball away. The turnover forced Auburn to foul Scottie Wilbekin. The Gators hit their free throws the rest of the way to seal the win.

Florida and Wichita State are unlikely to meet until a potential Final Four matchup, but it looks like they’ll have an off-the-court battle for the top spot in the polls on Monday.

11 comments
jdragon77
jdragon77

Was pretty obvious the Cuse has been ready to drop a game, struggling mightily and squeaking by the last few weeks. But at home, to 6-19 BC? I don't think anyone saw that coming. Maybe the pressure of a perfect season was just too much, but more likely, they are just another good but not great team. Everyone has flaws this year, tourney is wide open and higher seeds will be falling by the bunches.

GoalieLax
GoalieLax

Cuse should have lost to NC State but was bailed out by the refs.  Their reward is a much more damning loss.  Couldn't happen to a better coach.

thatmanstu
thatmanstu

What the heck is up with those uniforms? Halloween is many months away..but those are reeeaaallllyyy scary......

Jonathan T
Jonathan T

Syracuse clearly isn't as good as their ranking considering how many games they have escaped from the last few weeks.  They might recover or this could open the flood gates.  I don't think their is any dominant team this year.  They all have had their ups and downs and it should make for a very interesting tournament.

ROLL TIDE1
ROLL TIDE1

syracuse has been the most overrated team in the country all year.  They have been escaping against mediocre teams often....to lose to BC....a 6-19 team...really? there is no star power on this cuse team....just great coaching and players that have good chemistry.  Not a true top 5 team.  I would be shocked if the orange get past the sweet 16.  

jackvoskul
jackvoskul

Golden Eagles?  Seriously?  BC is a major college team, we cant get their mascot correct?

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

@GoalieLax  Just how was this loss 'damning?' Still on track for a number one seed, maybe even overall number one. Maybe you are referring to your favorite team?

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

@ROLL TIDE1  Who says you need stars to win. Anybody really knew who Luke Hancock and Peyton Siva were until Louisville got hot? How about the runners up, Michigan? Did you know any of their players before the start of March Madness last year? Star power is highly overrated. History is littered with teams who had star power and didn't win the big one: Georgetown, Kentucky, Houston, Michigan, UCONN, Ohio State, UNLV. I could go on.  Most people, including the so-called experts could not correctly guess all the Final Four teams even if you gave them multiple tries. Let's see what happens in March.

ROLL TIDE1
ROLL TIDE1

@EasyGoer @ROLL TIDE1  if u are an avid cbb fan like me....than you should definitely have known hardaway, burke, mcgarry, robinson III, siva, Dieng, ware, & russ smith way before the tourney.  So yes... I had seen many of them play MANY times.  Some of them I have followed since they were in HS.  You are correct you don't always have to have star power to win the tournament....but usually the teams that go all way do.  Michigan & Louisville are terrible examples for your arguement....both teams were littered with current & future nba players.  This year in cbb teams like kansas, florida, duke, michigan state & kentucky are superior to syracuse....one of the reasons is that in crunch time those teams have superstars that will take over the game....syracuse just isn't that good.