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Orange's rally comes up shy

Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates hug during the second half of a 71-68 victory over No. 2 Syracuse that puts Cincinnati in the Big East final for the first time.

Associated Press

Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates hug during the second half of a 71-68 victory over No. 2 Syracuse that puts Cincinnati in the Big East final for the first time.

Round 1 Round 2 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final Semifinals Quarterfinals Round 2 Round 1
TUESDAY Wednesday Thursday Friday Tonight Friday Thursday Wednesday
9 UConn 81 1 Syracuse 58 2 Marquette 71 10 Set. Hall 79
9 UConn 71 10 Set. Hall 55
16 DePaul 67 OT 9 UConn 55 7 Louisville 84 15 Prov. 47
8 W.Va. 67 1 Syracuse 68 4 Cincy 7 L'ville 64 7 Louisville 61
5 G'town 64 4 Cincy 71 7 Louisville 3 ND 50 6 USF 56
12 St. John's 59 5 G'town 70 6 USF 53 Rutgers 49
13 Pitt 52 2 OT OT 14 'Nova 47
13 Pitt 73 4 Cincy 72 3 N. Dame 57 14 'Nova 70

NEW YORK — Cincinnati didn't spend much time celebrating its biggest win of the season. That's because the Bearcats have one more game to go for their first Big East title.

Minutes after shooting their way to a 17-point lead and then holding on to beat No. 2 Syracuse 71-68 Friday night in the semifinals to advance to their first conference championship game, the Bearcats were already thinking about what could be.

"I walked in the locker room, and the guys had written 'We need to win one more' on the board," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "I didn't even have to write it."

The fourth-seeded Bearcats (24-9) meet seventh-seeded Louis­ville in tonight's champion­ship game at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinals beat third-seeded and 23rd-ranked Notre Dame 64-50.

To get there, Cincinnati ended the 11-game winning streak of the top-seeded Orange (31-2). They did it with an impressive shooting performance over the opening 14 minutes, when they took a 17-point lead, and then by holding on as Syracuse was able to get within one point in the final seconds.

Now a program that made headlines early in the season for a brawl against intracity rival Xavier and sunk as low as losing at home to Presbyterian, has its seventh win over a ranked team this season, the most in the country.

Yancy Gates and Sean Kilpatrick both had 18 points for Cincinnati.

Dion Waiters had 28 points for Syracuse, which was able to close within 69-68 with 5.4 seconds left when he made two free throws — and the second one he was trying to miss. Justin Jackson was all alone when he dunked with 1 second left for a three-point lead and Waiters' desperation heave from beyond midcourt was off at the buzzer.

The loss shouldn't hurt the Orange's chances of being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"Cincinnati moved the ball better than we did," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We didn't get anything going offensively in the first half. I was shocked that we were within 12. We just couldn't get anything going."

Louisville 64, No. 23 Notre Dame 50: Gorgui Dieng scored 16 points and Louisville dominated to reach the championship game for the third time in four years. The Cardinals held the Fighting Irish without a field goal for the final 121/2 minutes in the first half. Louisville (25-9), looking for its second tournament title since joining the league for the 2005-06 season, denied Notre Dame again in its quest to make the title game for the first time. The third-seeded Fighting Irish (22-11) fell to 0-5 in the semifinal round, all under coach Mike Brey.

Orange's rally comes up shy 03/09/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 12:44am]
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