After knocking off Ohio State, their in-state rivals, in the Round of 64, the Flyers followed up that monumental victory with a heck of an encore against the Syracuse Orange. They held the Orange without a three and hit seven themselves as they shocked the world once again with a 55-53 win. Orange freshmen Tyler Ennis missed a three at the buzzer that would have held off elimination, but it didn’t fall as his team’s late season struggles proved to be more than a minor lapse. The Flyers’ were able to hold C.J. Fair and Ennis to a combined 11-35 shooting, while Jerami Grant only attempted three. Typically teams went against the Orange hoping to contain one of them, but the Flyers were able to basically take away all three. Missed free throws very nearly cost them, though, as they were just 10-18 from the line. Vee Sanford, the hero from their win against OSU, was solid once again, scoring eight points on 4-8 shooting while grabbing four rebounds in 17 minutes of action. The Flyers now find themselves in the Sweet 16 matched up against a very beatable Stanford Cardinal team. If they can put forth a similar defensive effort against their top two threats of Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell, this magical run could still have some life in it.
Kansas freshmen Andrew Wiggins, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, had a reputation for coming up big in the games that mattered most. The NCAA Tournament provided the highest stakes of his career and everyone was expecting brilliance. However, the Cardinal’ defense had other ideas. They held the future lottery pick to as many points as turnovers (four) and outrebounded the Jayhawks by two in a 60-57 upset. The Jayhawks were coming off of a performance in which they destroyed Eastern Kentucky on the glass, but had no such luck against the bigger and more physical Cardinal. The Cardinal received a bounce-back performance from Dwight Powell, who scored a team high 15 points after being held without a field goal in the Round of 64. Chasson Randle was solid once again, scoring 13 points on 6-12 shooting while accumulating six steals to help negate his seven turnovers. The win is even more impressive considering that the Cardinal went without a three and left eight points at the free throw line. It’s rare to go into the Sweet 16 and be facing your easiest opponent on paper, but the Flyers have really exceeded expectations and are on a roll right now. Look for rebounding and points in the paint to be key. If the Cardinal win both of those battles, they’re likely to move on.
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