Many of the SU Basketball players were wearing t-shirts after Thursday night's "Sweet 16" victory that said "by any means," the perfect way to describe the way the Orange pulled off a 64-63 heartpounding win over 4th seeded Wisconsin.
"We've been right there with each other throughout the whole year," said senior guard Scoop Jardine who scored 14 points, "and that's one thing about this team, we don't get too high, we don't get too. We stay right there level headed. We believe in each other."
The Badgers hit 14 three pointers in the game, but it was Jordan Taylor's game winning shot that missed, rewarding the Orange for a stellar defensive showing down the stretch.
The Orange, who have made a habit of pulling off close victories all season long down the stretch, now advance to their first "Elite Eight" game since 2003.
"This is one of the best games I've been involved with in a long time," said Head Coach Jim Boeheim. "I think the best game anybody has ever played against us and didn't beat us. They made 14 threes, and usually that's enough. But really proud of our players. Every time they came back and went ahead, we had an answer for it. We made something happen."
"We wanted to get a stop," added Jardine. "We knew it was going to be something with Jordan (Taylor) trying to penetrate or pick out to one of his shooters, and me and Dion (Waiters) just pressed up on him. We've been in that situation before throughout the year, and we knew if they get an open shot we had to come back and get a rebound because it was going to be a long miss. I think we done a great job doing it."
The key to the game offensively for the Orange was the return of C.J.
Fair, who had been slumping through the Big East Tournament, and up until this point of the NCAA Tournament. Fair led all Orange with 15 points and 7 rebounds, and Coach Boeheim credits him with the key plays that led to victory.
"C.J. made the big play when we were three down. He got that rebound and made the three-point play. That was a huge play. But I thought, again, Wisconsin played unbelievable. We needed C.J. tonight. If we hadn't had him tonight-- the last four games he played before he went into his slump, he averaged 15 points a game, four straight games in our league which is a tough league. So we knew he was perfectly capable of it, and tonight he was there for us. He was huge," said Boeheim.
Dion Waiters scored 13 points off the bench, while Brandon Triche contributed with 11 points.
SU will play Ohio State on Saturday, with the winner going onto the Final Four in New Orleans.