CHICAGO – Every part of it paid off for Syracuse. The Orange learned and persevered during a trying season.
When Michael Gbinije and company got in trouble Friday night, they were ready.
Gbinije made a go-ahead layup with 22 seconds left, and Syracuse advanced to its 10th Elite Eight under Jim Boeheim with a 63-60 victory over Gonzaga in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Tyler Lydon sealed the win with a block on Josh Perkins’ runner in the final seconds. Lydon then grabbed the ball and made two foul shots before Domantas Sabonis’ desperate fling was well off at the buzzer.
“These guys have fought all year, and every game we’ve been behind, we’ve been in some tough situations, and they’ve battled through them all year,” Boeheim said.
Next up is an all-ACC matchup with Virginia on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four. The Orange lost 73-65 to the Cavaliers on Jan. 24, but that was a long time ago.
Syracuse’s rocky season included a nine-game suspension for Boeheim as part of an NCAA investigation that found a history of improper benefits and academic misconduct stretching back years.
Gbinije scored 20 points and Trevor Cooney had 15 for Syracuse (22-13), which shot 36.1 percent from the field, but forced 17 Gonzaga turnovers.
Kyle Wiltjer had 23 points for No. 11 Gonzaga (28-8), and Sabonis finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots.
No. 1 Virginia 84, No. 4 Iowa State 71: In Chicago, Anthony Gill finished with a season-high 23 points, Mike Tobey came off the bench to score 18, and Virginia trounced Iowa State.
No. 1 North Carolina 101, No. 5 Indiana 86: In Philadelphia, Marcus Paige scored 21 points and North Carolina continued its offensive prowess, moving to the Elite Eight for the 20th time since 1975 by beating Indiana.
Yogi Ferrell scored 25 points to lead Indiana (27-8).
No. 6 Notre Dame 61, No. 7 Wisconsin 56: In Philadelphia, Demetrius Jackson stripped the ball and scored the go-ahead layup with 14.7 seconds left and Notre Dame advanced to the brink of its first Final Four in 38 years, eliminating Wisconsin.