The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is finally here. Play kicked off Tuesday and Wednesday with four teams battling each night to get into the dance.
The Syracuse Orange and the Texas Southern Tigers came out on top Wednesday night.
There is rarely a blowout in March Madness. Teams are expected to get the best performance out of their respective opponent, and that is what The Orange got out of Arizona State on Wednesday.
With 4:05 left in a back-and-forth game, the Sun Devils were threatening. Arizona State senior guard Kodi Justice made a three-pointer to put his team up two. All eyes were on the Orange to see how they would respond, and they rallied.
With lock-down defense, the Orange allowed only one made field goal in the final four minutes of the game. This would allow the offense to surge back, leading to Syracuse winning the game 60-56.
Freshman forward Oshae Brissett led the way for the Orange with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Brissett also made the game-tying bucket with 2:51 left to go in the game. It would be the last time Arizona State held the lead.
Syracuse will have a small break before playing 6-seeded TCU Friday.
History for Texas Southern
The Texas Southern Tigers have appeared in the NCAA tournament eight times in their short history, good for second in their conference. However, before this year, they had never won a game in the tournament. March 14, 2018, changed that.
In a historic game, the Tigers topped North Carolina Central 64-46 to advance in the dance for the first time ever. The Tigers won with balance play from almost their entire rotation.
Three players had double-digit points, and the team had a combined 41 rebounds. Sophomore guard Demontrae Jefferson led the way for the Tigers with 25 points in his 39 minutes played.
The team will have to be some adjustments before they play No. 1 seed Xavier on Friday.
The team shot just 36.8 percent from the field and only made six of its 24 shots. The Tigers will need to be more accurate if they want to compete against the top-seeded Musketeers.