Freshmen Adding Much to Syracuse Experience
Never count out Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse’s other freshmen.
And don’t write off the Big East either. The conference moved to 8-0 in the NCAA tournament when Syracuse overcame a disastrous start and defeated Oklahoma State, 68-56, Sunday in the East Regional.
The second-round victory sends the Orangemen to Albany, N.Y., and the round of 16 on Friday against Auburn, which defeated Wake Forest, 68-62, Sunday at Tampa, Fla.
Syracuse (26-5) will be joined by three other teams from the Big East. The conference received only four bids to the tournament, which excluded one of its division winners, Boston College.
Pittsburgh advanced with a 74-52 victory over Indiana in Sunday’s first game at Boston, and Connecticut and Notre Dame won Saturday.
Third-seeded Syracuse’s chances of moving on seemed bleak as sixth-seeded Oklahoma State (22-10) rushed to a 14-2 lead, running after nearly every miss by the Orangemen.
But they trailed only 31-25 after scoring the last seven points of the half.
Syracuse rallied even though Anthony and Gerry McNamara, the nation’s highest scoring freshman duo, each missed all six of their shots in the half.
But McNamara finished with 14 points, despite sitting out nearly six minutes to have a cut above his nose taken care of.
And Anthony, perhaps the nation’s top freshman, had 13 points.