BOSTON (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony found a clear path to the second
round by driving to the basket instead of tossing up jumpers.
His aggressiveness in the second half rubbed off on his
teammates as Syracuse overcame tenacious Manhattan for a 76-65 win
Friday in the East Regional.
Anthony, considered by many the nation's best freshman, wanted
to start the game by checking the accuracy of his jumper. After
going 3-for-9 with just seven points in the first 26 minutes, he
changed his approach.
"I know now I have to start out the game from the inside,'' the
6-foot-8 Anthony said. "All day, everyone was telling me to take advantage of the height I had on them.''
Asked why he didn't go inside earlier, Anthony didn't respond
before coach Jim Boeheim broke in.
"Bad coaching,'' Boeheim said.
Anthony's last six shots came from five feet and closer -- and he
made four of them.
"We had a lot of turnovers in the first half,'' Boeheim said.
"We were a little bit better in the second half. Carmelo did a
good job of getting the ball up the court.''
He also had both his blocked shots in the second half, when his
teammates followed his aggressive example. They had 20 points in the paint in the first half and 28 in the second.
Another freshman, Billy Edelin, scored 15 for the Orangemen, who
will play Oklahoma State in the second round Sunday.
Manhattan trailed 35-31 at halftime after the Orangemen
committed 12 turnovers. But they had just six after that and staved
off several surges by the Jaspers.
"We felt very good in the first three minutes of the game,''
said Luis Flores, who had 20 points for Manhattan. "We found a
comfort zone again in the second half. We made a run, but they just
continued to block shots and made their own run.''
The third-seeded Orangemen had nine blocks with five players
getting at least one each. They also controlled the boards, 35-21.
"Nine blocked shots is not something we see every day'' in the
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez
said. "Our press was effective, but against a team like Syracuse,
when they wanted, they just cleared things out and hit their
Syracuse (25-5) faces the winner of Friday's second game between
sixth-seeded Oklahoma State and 11th-seeded Pennsylvania.
Jared Johnson scored 22 points to lead the 14th-seeded Jaspers
"We played hard, as hard as we have all season, but Syracuse
was just that much better,'' he said.
Starting forward Hakim Warrick also improved for Syracuse,
scoring all 10 of his points in the second half after being benched
following the first three minutes of the game when he played poor
He had an excuse: He missed three days of practice with a fever
and wasn't at full strength.
"He's a very important part of our team,'' Boeheim said. "He's
really been there all year for us.''
But the Jaspers kept coming back in the second half.
They cut a 46-38 lead to 52-49. After Syracuse went on a 9-0 run
to make it 61-49, the Jaspers pulled to 61-56 with 6:57 left. But
Anthony hit a layup and two free throws as Syracuse regained
control, 65-56 with 5:31 remaining.
"This was just one of those games you have to find a way to
hang in there and survive,'' Boeheim said. "We did just that,
Warrick didn't return until the start of the second half,
promptly scoring Syracuse's first four points on free throws. He
then added a fastbreak layup that ended a 7-0 run and made it
The victory improved Boeheim's first-round record in the NCAA
Tournament to 19-3 over his 27 years at Syracuse, including two
appearances in the championship game. The Orangemen are back in the
tournament after their three-year streak was broken last year.