McNamara drops 43; Syracuse squeezes past BYU
Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Gerry McNamara poured in a career-high 43
points, including 28 in the first half, as Syracuse held on to defeat BYU,
80-75, in a first round NCAA Tournament game at the Pepsi Center.
The defending nation champion Orangemen, seeded fifth in the Phoenix bracket,
also received 20 points from Hakim Warrick. Syracuse (22-7) will face fourth-
seeded Maryland in the second round on Saturday. The Terrapins, who captured
the NCAA Tournament in 2002, advanced with a victory over Texas-El Paso.
“Gerry had as good a performance as I’ve ever seen in college basketball,”
said Orangemen head coach Jim Boeheim. “Gerry was just in another world today.
I don’t think you’ll see the likes of that kind of game too many times ever.”
Rafael Araujo paced the 12th-seeded Cougars with 24 points and 12 rebounds,
despite being in foul trouble in the second half. Mark Bigelow and Mike Hall
each netted 17 points for BYU (21-9), which earned an at-large bid to the NCAA
Tournament out of the Mountain West Conference.
Jake Shoff’s basket for BYU with 14:38 remaining in the second half tied the
contest at 54-54.
Demetris Nichols and McNamara then nailed consecutive three-point shots to
spark a 15-6 run that staked Syracuse to a seemingly comfortable 69-60
advantage with 8:29 left.
The Cougars refused to go away and answered with a 13-3 burst, culminated by
Araujo’s follow-up dunk, to grab a 73-72 advantage with 3:22 remaining.
Syracuse then received a bucket from Warrick and a three-pointer from McNamara
to move back in front 77-73 with 2:14 left.
Bigelow converted a layup to cut the deficit to two and after a series of
missed shots on both ends, had a chance to give BYU the lead. However, he
missed an open three-point shot with 20 seconds remaining and Syracuse got the
McNamara was fouled with 16.2 seconds left and sank both attempts from the
stripe to seal it. He added another free throw with 6.7 seconds remaining to
account for the final margin.
“In the two or three times that I have been here, this was the best effort
that I’ve received from a group of young men,” said BYU head coach Steve
Cleveland. “They were ready to play, and it just didn’t go our way tonight.”
The teams went back-and-forth over the first 7 1/2 minutes of the game.
McNamara’s three-pointer with 12:38 left in the opening half tied the contest
BYU then went on a 14-3 burst, keyed by a pair of three-pointers from Luiz
Lemes, to take a 35-24 lead with 5:42 remaining in the half.
However, Syracuse abandoned its normal 2-3 zone defense and went to a man-to-
man, which spearheaded an 18-7 spurt to tie the contest at 42-42 heading to
the intermission. McNamara netted 13 points during the surge and ended the
first half 7-of-8 from the field, including 6-of-7 from three-point range.
McNamara’s production was needed after Warrick was forced to sit out the final
seven minutes of the half after picking up his third foul.
The Cougars drained eight three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes, while the
Orangemen countered with seven. Hall led BYU in the first half with 13 points.