Double-digit seed Syracuse loses 83-66 to UNC in Final Four

HOUSTON (AP) In a story April 2 about Syracuse losing in the Final Four, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of years Jim Boeheim has been head coach. Boeheim finished his 40th season, not 39th season.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Double-digit seed Syracuse loses 83-66 to UNC in Final Four

Syracuse was the double-digit seed to get to the Final Four, and ended its season with a 83-66 loss to North Carolina

By STEPHEN HAWKINS

AP Basketball Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - A double-digit loss for Syracuse, the double-digit seed that made it to the Final Four.

No big comeback like the No. 10 seed Orange had to get to this far, and the end of coach Jim Boeheim's 40th season with an 83-66 loss to North Carolina on Saturday night.

''I told the players after the game that I'm more proud of this team than any team I've ever coached. I've always been pretty proud of our teams,'' Boeheim said. ''I'm more satisfied than I've ever been in any year that I've ever coached, with the possible of exception the year we won it all.''

Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson each had 16 points as the Tar Heels beat their ACC rival for the third time this season, this time to get into their 10th national championship game. North Carolina, the only No. 1 seed to get to Houston, plays Monday night against Villanova after the Wildcats' 95-51 romp over Oklahoma in the first national semifinal game.

Syracuse (23-14) had already beaten a No. 1 seed, overcoming a 16-point deficit right after halftime in a 68-62 win over Virginia six days earlier.

But the Orange could never get on a run against North Carolina (33-6) like the 25-4 deciding spurt they had against the Cavaliers.

Trevor Cooney had 22 points for Syracuse, and three times in the final 9 minutes made shots that got the Orange within 10 points or less. North Carolina responded each time.

''Obviously it's tough right now. But I'm still proud of these guys. I mean, coming into the tournament, we weren't even supposed to be in there,'' Cooney said. ''We just kept battling, fighting. We were down in so many games throughout this tournament.''

Malachi Richardson's 3-pointer that had capped a 10-0 run to get the Orange within 57-50 before Marcus Paige finally hit a 3 for North Carolina, which had missed its first 11 from long range.

The fourth double-digit seed to make it to the Final Four, Syracuse also failed to get to the championship. The 1986 LSU Tigers, 2006 George Mason Patriots and the 2011 VCU Rams all lost their semifinal games.

North Carolina has won all of its tournament games by at least 14 points, and was up 57-40 with 12:28 left before an announced crowd of 75,505 at NGR Stadium.

''When you get down 16 against them, usually it goes to 25,'' Boeheim said. ''We got it back, cut it to seven. We just couldn't quite ever get to where we could get it in range.''

Cooney hit a 3-pointer with 8:44 left that made it 62-53, but Theo Pinson then hit a 3-pointer for the Tar Heels.

Malachi Richardson, the freshman who had 21 second-half points against Virginia, had a layup that cut the gap to 10 again, only for Marcus Paige to make a 3-pointer.

After 3 by Cooney with 3:48 made it a 10-point game again, Justin Jackson had a dunk for North Carolina. Cooney made another layup, and it was 74-64 - the closest Syracuse would get. Paige, who finished with 13 points, then made another 3.

Cooney finished 9-of-18 shooting with four 3-pointers. Richardson had 17 points and Michael Gbinije had 12 on 5-of-18 shooting before fouling out with 1:25 to go.

''I'm a little crushed right now,'' Gbinije said. ''I think we left it all on the floor tonight. ... I'm just happy we were able to get this far.''

TIP-INS

North Carolina: Kennedy Meeks had 15 points, missing only two shots - and tipping both of them back to himself. His line for the last two games: 11 for 13 from the field with 11 rebounds. ... Overall, Carolina outrebounded Syracuse 43-31.

Syracuse: Boeheim on whether he's considering retirement: ''Why do you guys always ask me that? Make sure you ask Roy.''

UP NEXT

North Carolina: Monday vs. Villanova for the program's sixth title.

Syracuse: Season over.

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