(12) BYU 75

(21-9, 10-4 MW)

(5) Syracuse 80

(22-7, 11-5 Big East)

    3:00 PM ET, March 18, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    1 2 T
    #12BYU 42 3375
    #5SYR 42 3880

    McNamara drains nine 3s for career-high 43

    DENVER (AP) -- Gerry McNamara added to his reputation as a clutch shooter -- especially in the NCAA tournament.

    McNamara hit nine 3-pointers and had 43 points, helping the defending national champions hold off pesky Brigham Young 80-75 Thursday in the first round.

    Dick Vitale's Tourney Take
    Sophomore guard Gerry McNamara was clearly the player of the day. He put on an offensive clinic in the first round when forward Hakim Warrick was in trouble with three early fouls. Warrick came through in the second half with 16 points, but it was McNamara who was clutch with key shots and big free throws to win. Give BYU credit for inside toughness, but it wasn't enough to defeat the defending national champions. Now Syracuse will meet Maryland for only the third NCAA tourney meeting between the past two national champions. The first two were in 1962 (Ohio State-Cincinnati) and 1995 (North Carolina-Arkansas).
    More on Thursday's Games

    He made six 3-pointers in last year's championship game against Kansas and was even better in this one, finishing 9-for-13 for the third-highest total in NCAA tournament history.

    "Gerry had as good a performance as I've ever seen in college basketball," said coach Jim Boeheim, who tied Denny Crum for 18th all-time with his 675th win.

    "Gerry was just in another world today. I don't think you'll see the likes of that kind of game too many times ever."

    Syracuse (22-7) shot 53 percent and got 20 points from Hakim Warrick but couldn't breathe easy against 12th-seeded BYU until McNamara hit three free throws in four attempts in the final 16 seconds.

    The Orangemen, the fifth seed in the Phoenix Regional, advanced to face Maryland in the second round Saturday in a matchup of the last two national champions.

    They can thank McNamara, who made his first six 3-pointers and added three more in six attempts in the second.

    "Right from the beginning, from that first shot I took, it felt good," said McNamara, who is 15-for-23 from 3-point range in his last two NCAA tournament games. "So when you have it, you have to roll with it. You have to keep throwing it up there."

    BYU (21-9) got off to a strong start from the perimeter and had plenty of help inside from Rafael Araujo -- 24 points and 12 rebounds -- but still couldn't get past the first round for the fourth straight time. The Cougars haven't won an NCAA tournament game since beating Southern Methodist in the first round in 1993.

    "In the two or three times that I have been here, this was the best effort that I've received from a group of young men," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "They were ready to play, and it just didn't go our way tonight."

    Syracuse just scraped by Manhattan in the first round en route to last year's national title and was in a fight from the start in this one.

    BYU's good perimeter shooting early forced Syracuse to abandon its vaunted 2-3 zone late in the first half and Araujo had his way against man coverage. But the Cougars couldn't come up with the big shot when they needed it.

    BYU had four chances to tie it in the final two minutes, but Araujo followed two offensive rebounds with an ill-advised 3-pointer with just over a minute left, and Mark Bigelow missed a wide-open 3-pointer with 20 seconds left.

    "To let it slip away and then get down and come back and have a shot to win the game and come up short makes it really tough," Bigelow said.

    The teams set a torrid scoring pace from the start, combining to hit 11 of 12 shots in the opening five minutes.

    Warrick got Syracuse started with a tomahawk dunk on a spin move, and the Orangemen didn't miss until Demetris Nichols' runner in the lane caromed off the backboard at 15:09 on their sixth shot.

    Syracuse collapsed in on Araujo early, opening up the perimeter for BYU's shooters. The Cougars took advantage, hitting 5-of-6 from 3-point range -- three by Mike Hall -- in the first 3:37.

    When BYU finally did get it to Araujo, the bruising Brazilian muscled his way through a double team for a three-point play that put the Cougars up 18-15.

    "He is definitely one of the top big men we've played this year," Warrick said. "He's got a great touch outside and good footwork and he's really strong."

    McNamara and BYU's Luiz Lemes took over from there.

    McNamara hit a 3-pointer that tied it at 18-all, then Lemes dropped one in from the wing. McNamara hit another from the same spot, followed by consecutive 3s by Lemes that put BYU up 29-21.

    McNamara had an answer -- of course -- dropping in a 25-footer with a hand in his face.

    And he wasn't through.

    Warrick had to sit the final 7:01 after picking up his third foul, but McNamara added two more 3-pointers to help Syracuse tie it at 42-all by halftime after trailing by as many as 11.

    McNamara also hit five free throws after being fouled on 3-point attempts to finish the half with 28 points -- four short of his career best.

    "Really, if he didn't shoot that well, we'd probably be up 20 at the first half," Bigelow said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press



    » Mar 18, 2004 @SYR 80, BYU 75Recap