- Associated Press - Thursday, March 15, 2012

PITTSBURGH — Syracuse was missing its starting center. North Carolina-Asheville thought the Orange got help from three men in striped shirts.

With Syracuse facing the kind of NCAA tournament history no team wants to make, the top-seeded Orange rallied for a 72-65 victory Thursday in the second round of the East Regional.

Two calls by the officials had the sellout crowd of 18,927 at Consol Energy Center - except for those wearing orange - booing throughout the final minute but it didn’t matter.

Syracuse made it 109-0 for No. 1 seeds against No. 16s since the NCAA went to a field of 64 in 1985.

“I don’t think luck had anything to do with this game today,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said, “and I think the better team won.”

The Orange were staring at NCAA tournament history. A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed, and they were trailing North Carolina-Asheville with just more than 6 minutes to play.

“We gave it everything we had. We battled the best that we could,” Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said. “These guys are great. They deserved a better fate than they had today.”

Syracuse, which won the national championship in 2003, had already made negative history in the tournament, becoming the first No. 2 seed to lose to a 15 when it fell 73-69 to Richmond in 1991.

The Orange managed to avoid adding another black mark by holding Asheville to one field goal over the final minute while they went 6 of 7 from the free throw line.

Vanderbilt 79, Harvard 70

John Jenkins made all six of his free throws down the stretch and finished with 27 points to help No. 5 Vanderbilt hold off No. 12 Harvard in the game that was billed as “The Brain Bowl.”

Brad Tinsley had 16 for the Commodores (25-10).

N. Mexico 75, Long Beach 68

Kendall Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and bottled up Long Beach State star Casper Ware defensively to help fifth-seeded New Mexico hold on

Drew Gordon added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Lobos.

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