In the second game of the Final Four, Syracuse took on North Carolina for the third time of the season. Both teams got off to a good start on both ends in the first half. The two were neck and neck until Brice Johnson picked up his second foul at the 9:05 mark. He'd sit the rest of the half yet UNC went on a 21-10 run without its best player.
North Carolina shot 0-10 from three but 48.6 percent the floor in the first by getting shots from the high-post and around the rim. Syracuse shot 35.5 percent from the floor and 3-10 from three and went into the half trailing 39-28.
In the second half North Carolina continued to control the game in the paint. Syracuse had a tough time getting stops on the defensive end as UNC got the ball down low. Even on misses, UNC was able to crash the offensive glass for second-chance points.
Syracuse wouldn't go away without a fight, however, and was able to go on a 10-0 run behind Malachi Richardson and Trevor Cooney. The Orange got UNC's lead down to as little as seven but threes by Marcus Paige and Theo Pinson reinvigorated the Tar Heels. Syracuse then went to its press that worked so well against Gonzaga and Virginia. The Orange forced a few turnovers but was unable to take complete advantage on the offensive end.
In the end North Carolina took care of business and won 83-66. Cooney finished with 22 points and 3 steals while shooting 4-8 from outside. Richardson had 17 points while Michael Gbinije added 12.
Now we can look forward to Orange Madness. This was an inconceivable run to the Final Four from a team that defied all odds and logic. There's no shame in losing to what many believe is the best team in college basketball. It was a hell of a run for an Orange squad that figures to be better next year with the additions of Matt Moyer, Tyus Battle and Paschal Chukwu.