Buffalo, NY (WKZO) – The Syracuse Orangemen led from start to finish and blew out the Western Michigan men’s basketball team 77-53 to eliminate the Broncos from the NCAA Tournament at the First Niagara Center.
Trevor Cooney scored 18 and CJ Fair contributed with 14 points and 11 rebounds, as the Orangemen advance to the third round of the tournament and will face the Dayton Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos knew beating the #3 seeded Orangemen would be challenge, but 11 turnovers and just 21 points in the first half, only made the difficult task of pulling the upset even more unlikely.
Shayne Whittington and Tucker Haymond each scored 11 for the Broncos, and MAC leading scorer David Brown was held to under 10 points for the first time all-season. Brown struggled to find his shot and during the second half was noticeably limping. Brown made just 2-of-12 shots and was 2-of-10 from downtown and finished with nine points.
The Orangemen came out of the gate not looking like a team that had lost five of its last seven, but more like the team that started the season 25-0 and spent much of the season as the #1 ranked team in the country. Syracuse took an early 7-2 lead and increased their lead to 17-4 while holding the Broncos scoreless for 4:36, and except for a 27 second stretch remained in the lead by double-figures the rest of the way out. Syracuse’s biggest lead came with 3:54 left in the game at 71-43 and led at halftime 40-21.
Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grand each scored 16 for Syracuse (28-5).
GAME NOTES: Connar Tava had six points on 1-of-9 shooting but did dish out six assists…The Broncos shot just 22.2% (4-18) from three point range…WMU was 15-20 from the free throw line…All five Bronco starters played at least 32 minutes…The announced attendance was 19,260, the largest crowd WMU has played in front of all season…As much before, Syracuse will now take on the Dayton Flyers in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Dayton defeated Ohio State 60-59 in its opening matchup.