Top seed Syracuse was able to advance to the third round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament Thursday, although it took a late rally for the Orange to avoid becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16th seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The Orange trailed with six minutes left before defeating UNC-Asheville 72-65 in the East Regional. Syracuse moves on to face the eighth seeded Kansas State Wildcats, who defeated no. 9 Southern Mississippi 70-64. Rodney McGruder scored 30 points, Jordan Henriquez added 15 points, nine rebounds and six blocks as the Wildcats earned the right to face SU.
According to Turner Sports, the SU/K-State game is scheduled to tip off at approximately 12:15 p.m. Saturday on CBS (WTVH-5 in Syracuse). As with Thursday's game, Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, and Marty Snider will call the action from Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Arena.
In Thursday's contest, backup forward James Southerland finished with 15 points and a season-high eight rebounds while giving Syracuse more of an inside presence following the loss of Fab Melo due to ineligibility. The Orange didn't do much from outside, missing 17 of their first 20 three-point attempts and finishing 5-for-23.
Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters both had 12 points for Syracuse, while J.P. Primm had a game-high 18 points for Asheville.
The Bulldogs led 34-30 at the break, making them just the third No. 16 seed to lead at halftime. But a couple of controversial calls over the final 80 seconds prevented them from getting any closer than three points down the stretch.
Syracuse and Kansas State will both hold news conferences Friday afternoon to discuss Saturday's game. The Wildcats are scheduled to speak from 1:35 - 2:15 p.m. eastern, followed by the Orange from 2:20 - 3:00 p.m. Check back with CNYcentral.com for live coverage of both news conferences.
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.)