- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

MIAMI | With Syracuse’s season on the cusp of slipping away, Jonny Flynn found himself getting the majority of Arizona State’s defensive attention.

Eric Devendorf, Andy Rautins and the Orange exploited that perfectly.

Flynn set up Rautins’ 3-pointer that started a game-saving Syracuse run, then hit Devendorf for two more 3s less than a minute apart shortly after, and the third-seeded Orange held off the sixth-seeded Sun Devils 78-67 in a South regional second-round game Sunday.

“All three of us were just patient, and we took what was open,” Devendorf said. “When we do that, good things happen.”

Good things like a trip to Memphis, for example.

Devendorf finished with 21 points and Rautins added 17 for Syracuse (28-9), which moves on to play Blake Griffin and second-seeded Oklahoma (29-5) in Memphis on Friday, with a spot in the regional final against either North Carolina or Gonzaga at stake.

Some reward, said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who got the 799th win of his career and moved into a tie with former Louisville coach Denny Crum for seventh in all-time NCAA tournament coaching wins with 42.

“We’re going to play the team that would be the No. 1 seed in this tournament if it weren’t for Griffin getting injured,” Boeheim said. “If he hadn’t gotten hurt, they’d be the No. 1 seed. That’s enough to worry about.”

Rihards Kuksiks scored a career-high 20 points, and Ty Abbott also finished with 20 for Arizona State (25-10), which struggled mightily against Syracuse’s zone and led for only 31 seconds all afternoon.

James Harden, the Pac-10 player of the year, was held to 10 points - all in the second half - on 2-for-10 shooting for Arizona State.

“They did a great job of covering a lot of ground,” Arizona State point guard Derek Glasser said. “It doesn’t seem like they’re there, and then all of a sudden they’ve got two guys there. You know, they do a phenomenal job of guarding the paint and covering a lot of ground.”

Rick Jackson scored 13 points, Arinze Onuaku added 12 and Flynn scored 11 for Syracuse, which has won nine of its last 10 games.



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