DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Freshman Oshae Brissett had a double-double and led Syracuse’s second-half comeback, and the Orange — the last team to make the NCAA Tournament — held on for a 60-56 victory over Arizona State on Wednesday night in the First Four.
The 11th-seeded Orange plays No. 6 seed TCU (21-11) on Friday in Detroit in the Midwest Region.
Syracuse (21-13) had to sweat out Selection Sunday and wound up as the last one to make the bracket, sent to the First Four. The Orange prevailed in a matchup of teams that started fast and then faded onto the tournament bubble.
Arizona State (20-12) opened the season with 12 wins, including victories over tournament No. 1 seeds Xavier and Kansas. The Sun Devils went 8-12 the rest of the way. They also faded at the end of their tournament game.
Brissett overcame a hard fall in the first half, scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds. He had a three-point play and a step-back jumper as the Orange overcame a seven-point deficit with 7 minutes left.
Tyus Battle’s 3-pointer put Syracuse ahead to stay. With a chance to take the lead, Arizona State’s Shannon Evans II missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds to go. Frank Howard got the rebound, was fouled and made both free throws to clinch it.
Kodi Justice had 15 points for Arizona State, which hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2009.
Syracuse: The Orange uses only seven players and had concerns about Howard, who had a throat ailment the last few days. He hit a pair of 3s and had a steal and layup as the Orange opened with a 10-7 run. He finished with 12 points, including the clinching free throws.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils struggled against zone defenses during conference play and were facing one of the most fabled in the country. They struggled to get open shots and missed five straight as Syracuse went ahead to stay. The Sun Devils finished 11 of 32 from beyond the arc.
Syracuse hopes to duplicate its 2016 tournament run. The Orange was a No. 10 seed and reached the national semifinals, where it lost to North Carolina.
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