9:18 PM ET, April 7, 2003
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- This time, Jim Boeheim survived a wild finish at the Superdome. Hakim Warrick blocked a potential tying 3-pointer with less than a second left and Syracuse captured the first national title in school history by holding on for an 81-78 victory over Kansas. Syracuse (30-5) erased the memories of its last championship game in the Superdome, a 74-73 loss to Indiana on Keith Smart's late jumper in 1987. That loss had haunted Boeheim, who said he refused to watch replays of the finish, but finally earned his first national title in 27 years as Syracuse coach. A dramatic ending seemed unlikely after Josh Pace's basket gave the Orangemen a 76-64 lead with just over five minutes left. But Syracuse got sloppy and missed some free throws, the downfall of so many of its past teams, and Kansas made a late charge.Kueth Duany's free throw with 24 seconds to go gave Syracuse an 81-78 lead and Kirk Hinrich misfired on a 3-pointer for Kansas eight seconds later. But Warrick missed a pair at the line, giving the Jayhawks a final chance. Kansas (30-8) got the ball to Hinrich, who found a wide-open Michael Lee in the left corner. But Lee's attempt was swatted out of bounds by Warrick with seven-tenths of a second to go. Hinrich airballed an off-balance 3-pointer as time expired. Freshmen sensation Carmelo Anthony led the way with 20 points, despite being held scoreless over the final 13 minutes. Anthony became the third freshman in NCAA Tournament history and the first since Louisville's Pervis Ellison in 1986 to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. Kansas failed in a quest for its third national title as coach Roy Williams fell to 0-2 in title games. The Jayhawks could be headed for a bigger loss if Williams leaves to coach his alma mater, North Carolina.
|» Apr 7, 2003||SYR 81, @KU 78||Recap|