Mar 22, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Syracuse Orange players including Dion Waiters (3) , Scoop Jardine (11) and Rakeem Christmas (25) celebrate after the semifinals in the east region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Wisconsin Badgers at TD Garden. Syracuse won 64-63. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Jim Boeheim sums it up:
This is one of the best games I've been involved with in a long time. I think the best game anybody has ever played against us and didn't beat us. They made 14 threes, and usually that's enough. But really proud of our players. Every time they came back and went ahead, we had an answer for it. We made something happen. But I give Wisconsin an unbelievable amount of credit. They really -- for a little bit there, we had them. Our defense had them going just for a little bit when they made that run, but after that they were really patient. They made us play defense the whole time, and (Jordan) Taylor made some really hard threes, really hard threes. I thought they were long and mostly contested. But offensively we played very, very well, and we had to play very, very well.
Scoop Jardine on what Syracuse was trying to do on Wisconsin's final possession:
Scoop on Wisconsin's reliance on the three:
It's hard to be the team who's making 14 threes, but I'll tell you what, I give my teammates a lot of credit because every time they scored, we scored, and we stayed within ourselves, and we believed in what we had to do. We knew they couldn't stop us on the offensive end. We knew if you live by the three, you're going down by it some day. And today they died by it because we stayed within ourselves and we made their shots harder.
Kris Joseph on Dion Waiters' defense on the final play:
I was just hoping that he didn't foul, you know, because there's been a lot of times this year where we fouled three-point shooters, and I just wanted him to play honest D, get behind him in his face, and make the most difficult shot that he's ever taken in his life, and I think he did a great job of doing that.
Scoop on Dion's defense on the final play:
I think Dion was -- that's the best D he played throughout the game, and we needed it right there. Because I remember last year, Marquette made a shot against us, something like that, to win a game. So I was happy Dion was able to contest the shot. He almost blocked it and made it tough, so I was happy with the contest.
Scoop on C.J. Fair breaking out of a slump:
Yeah, I'm going to say what coach said. Coach said we believed in him. We knew what he was capable of doing. I don't think he really played bad in other games, he just wasn't there offensively. If C.J. (Fair) -- with this type of team, we just need players to give effort and we're going to figure it out, and that's what we've done all year. Today he was able to give us some scoring, and when he's giving us scoring, we're hard to beat. He's that offensive weapon that you don't have to call a play for, but you look up and he's got 15 points. That's something special with a kid like that. So I am happy he got his powers back and we can go into the Elite 8.
Scoop on the team's defensive strategy headed into the end of the game:
"We believe in our defense. We didn't panic, we stayed with them and we got the stop to win the game."
Jim Boeheim, mincing words on the end of the first-half:
We really screwed the end of the first half up unbelievably bad. We fouled a three-point shooter and then we turned it over.
Boeheim on C.J. Fair:
We needed C.J. tonight. If we hadn't had him tonight -- the last four games he played before he went into his slump, he averaged 15 points a game, four straight games in our league which is a tough league. So we knew he was perfectly capable of it, and tonight he was there for us. He was huge.
Boeheim on Baye Moussa Keita:
Baye (Keita) was tremendous inside, his defense, and a couple plays he made. We all played -- they all played good. Everybody played good. Kris struggled a little bit, but everybody else played great tonight, and we needed to.
More Boeheim on Keita:
"He made a great catch on that bounce pass from Scoop. That’s a 50-50 play. Not that he’ll make it; 50-50 that he’ll catch it."
Boeheim on Brandon Triche:
Brandon Triche was spectacular today. I probably needed to keep him in there longer, but it's hard to -- we have three really good guards, and it's hard sometimes to take one of them out. But he was really good tonight. He was probably the best of the guards when you look at the stat sheet.
Dion Waiters on Wisconsin:
"I was impressed. That was a great team. They hit, like, six of seven straight three-pointers. Six? Six. There was nothing we could do. You can’t contest it. I don’t want to be in any games like that no more."
"You’ve got to put your confidence to the side at that point. All you can do right there is pray. I think I prayed, like, 60 times in those two seconds. You’ve got to, man. It was, ‘Please, God, make him miss it.’ I was saying that a lot. And he missed it. I ain’t dwelling on that no more."
Boeheim on how he motivates the team now compared to the beginning of the season:
I'm a coach and I coach my team, and you coach them just as hard the first game as you do the last game. The spotlight, that's irrelevant, it really is.
And as far as coaching the team, these guys want me to coach them. They don't want me to be concerned that I didn't get dinner at home or that my kids are driving me crazy, which they do continuously. And those are things that are there every day that you don't -- that just can't factor into what you do. I think all people in all situations -- I've got a great life, I've got a great job, I've got one of the best jobs you can have in the world, and my job is to coach these guys. I can't think of anything better than that.
Boeheim on playing zone late in the game:
One of the reasons I like playing zone at the end of the game, it's hard to get fouled. Usually we don't foul -- we made a bad foul on one play, but we usually don't foul. We force somebody to make a shot. And it's hard to get in there in a limited amount of time. There's 35 seconds, you can get in there, but with 17, 18, it's more difficult to get in there and make something happen.
Boeheim on playing in the NCAA Tournament close to home(ish):
The thing in the NCAA Tournament, high seeds are always going to get to play somewhere near home. We're 600 miles -- I am probably off, 400 miles, we're not near home. Teams from Carolina and Duke have been playing in North Carolina for 40 years, since I've been in coaching. Forty years they've played in North Carolina every year that I've been coaching. So you know, that's what happens when you're a high seed. You get that advantage. You still have to play.
Lou Carnesecca told me a long time ago, those people don't score any points and they're not blowing any whistles. You've got to go out and win, and we went out and won tonight.