Freshman Billy Owens had a career-high 27 points, and seventh-ranked Syracuse outscored Bucknell 36-8 at the end of the first half en route to a 104-81 first-round victory today in the NCAA Midwest Regional.
Second-seeded Syracuse, 28-7, meets the winner of the Florida-Colorado State game Sunday in Reunion Arena for the right to advance to next week’s regional semifinals in Minneapolis.
Owens, only the third freshman in Syracuse history to reach the 400-point mark, had 23 of his points in the first half.
He was only three points short of the Syracuse record for a freshman set by Dwayne Washington in 1983, but he had scored no more than 19 points in any game this season.
Stephen Thompson added 21 points, All-American Sherman Douglas hit 19, and Matt Roe contributed 19 points, including four 3-pointers in the second half.
Mike Butts led the Bison, 23-8, with 22 points.
The Orangemen had some early problems against 15th-seeded Bucknell, the East Coast Conference champions, before applying a killer full court press.
The lead changed 12 times in the first half before Syracuse clamped on the press and scored 36 of the first half’s final 44 points for a 52-36 half-time lead.
Bucknell closed to within 10 points in the second half, but Roe killed the rally with his 3-point shooting.
Syracuse played without starting center Derrick Coleman, who sat out the game nursing a sore back and muscle spasms.