Cal drops third-round game to Syracuse
Cal fell to the Syracuse Orange, 66-60, in the third round of the NCAA tournament, missing out on becoming the third team to advance to the Sweet 16 on Saturday as Arizona and Oregon moved on.
[Related Cal-Syracuse highlights via NCAA.com]
The matchup featured two of the most successful active coaches in college basketball in Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Cal's Mike Montgomery. Boeheim's signature zone defense prevailed as the Orange suffocated the Golden Bears from the opening tip. Cal shot just 39 percent from the field.
Leading scorers Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs were held well below their averages of 18.7 and 15.4 points, respectively. Crabbe finished with just eight points while Cobbs had five.
The Orange led by double digits for much of the second half, but the Golden Bears pulled to within seven with four minutes remaining. Syracuse had an answer every step of the way as senior forward James Southerland connected on a turnaround jumper the very next time down the floor. Two similar sequences occurred late in the game on three-pointers from Crabbe and freshman Tyrone Wallace.
Cal also committed a number of unforced errors that saw the comeback attempt fall short. The Golden Bears missed seven free throws on the night and Crabbe inadvertently stepped out of bounds on a key possession late in the game.
Syracuse also missed its fair share of free throws (15), allowing Cal to remain within shouting distance at game’s end.
Syracuse was led by junior forward C.J. Fair, who finished with 18 points. Southerland added 14.
The Orange will head back east to Washington D.C. for the Sweet 16, where they will face the winner of Sunday’s game between No. 1 seed Indiana and No. 9 seed Temple.