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Archive for Sunday, April 6, 2003

Orangemen humble ‘Horns - Syracuse 95, Texas 84

Super freshman Anthony scores 33 for Syracuse

April 6, 2003

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— Carmelo Anthony twisted, turned and dunked all over Texas, stealing the show and giving Syracuse another chance to win the national championship in the Superdome -- of all places.

The super freshman scored a season-high 33 points and had 14 rebounds, and the Orangemen's 2-3 zone defense was tough enough for a 95-84 victory Saturday over Texas.

"He's a man, man," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He knows what to do."

Syracuse (29-5) will play Kansas University in the title game Monday on the same court it had a chance to win it all 16 years ago.

Then, Indiana's Keith Smart hit a jumper in the final seconds to beat the Orangemen 74-73. Now, Anthony and Boeheim will get a shot to win the school's first national championship.

Brandon Mouton had 25 points for the Longhorns (26-7), the only No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four.

The Jayhawks beat Marquette 94-61 in the other semifinal Saturday.

That means Syracuse will play a team from the Big 12 Conference for the fourth time in its six tournament games. The Orangemen beat Oklahoma State in the second round, top-seeded Oklahoma in the East Regional final and Texas.

Though Boeheim and Kansas' Roy Williams are among the top five active coaches by winning percentage, neither has a national championship.

"We just need one more," Boeheim said. "One of us will be able to smile Monday night. I told him before the season, 'Let's get to the final, then one of us will be able to smile."'

Anthony, a second-team All-American who averaged 22 points per game, played the entire second half with three fouls. That didn't stop him and neither did Texas' many defenders.

"Carmelo Anthony was terrific," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "They made plays when they needed to make plays."

Anthony, who many feel will leave Syracuse for the NBA after this season, gave the Orangemen their biggest lead of the game with two great plays that showed his versatility.

He hit a jumper from just inside the three-point line with 7:17 left to make it 76-66. After a Texas turnover, he threw down a two-handed power dunk that drew screams from the Syracuse fans in the crowd of 54,432.

"We really flinched this time," Texas forward James Thomas said. "That's the first time all year that's happened. I don't really know why it was, but once they got ahead of us, we couldn't get it back."

Still, Texas rallied to within 85-81 with 1:06 left. But Syracuse's other freshman, guard Gerry McNamara, made four straight free throws. After Brian Boddicker hit a three-pointer with 48 seconds left for Texas, the Orangemen scored the last six points of the game with Anthony holding up one finger toward the crowd, which chanted "One more year."

McNamara had 19 points and sophomore forward Hakim Warrick added 18 for Syracuse.

Texas' All-America guard T.J. Ford had 12 points and 13 assists, but he was never able to take over the game and crack the Syracuse zone.

Ford, a sophomore, and Anthony could be seen talking during the game.

"He told me I was only a freshman and I wasn't supposed to be getting all the calls I was getting," said Anthony, who was 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Texas attacked the zone early from the outside and Mouton had 20 points in the first half on 4-for-5 shooting from three-point range. The Longhorns were 6-for-9 from beyond the arc.

Forward Brad Buckman was effective inside against the 2-3 when the threes stopped falling, but Texas was never able to get the outside and inside success going at the same time.

"So much for the 2-3 zone concept," Boeheim said with a smile. "Our defense was good but our offense won it."

Syracuse should have a dome-court advantage Monday night since the Orangemen play their home games in the Carrier Dome, but that didn't work in 1987 against Indiana.

"We try to approach every game the same, whether it's Cornell or Monday night," Boeheim said. "The players will obviously be a little more ready than they might be for Cornell, but I'll be the same."

Syracuse lost to Kentucky in the national championship game in 1996 at East Rutherford, N.J., making Boeheim 0-2 in title games in his 27 seasons as head coach at his alma mater.

Texas was making its third appearance in the Final Four and first since 1947. The Longhorns have never reached the title game.

The double-double was Anthony's 21st of the season and it was by far his best game of the tournament.

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