The Syracuse University men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final second to potentially end a trying season — and put a capper on the 47-year head coaching tenure of Jim Boeheim — Wednesday afternoon in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Daivien Williamson drained the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to lift ninth-seeded Wake Forest to the 77-74 victory over No. 8 Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament second round at Greensboro, N.C.
The Demon Deacons (19-13) advanced to face top-seeded Miami (24-6) in the ACC quarterfinals at noon Thursday in the same location.
The Orange (17-15) is all but assured of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year and appears unlikely to reach the NIT. SU hasn’t gone back-to-back seasons missing both national tourneys since 1969 and ’70.
All postseason berths will be announced on Sunday night, beginning with the men’s NCAA Selection Show at 6 p.m.
Syracus announced Wednesday evening that Boeheim is retiring and that longtime assistant Adrian Autry will take over the helm.
Boeheim, whose possible retirement had been intensely debated in recent weeks, stated in a long and reflective response immediately after the game that his future was ultimately up to the university.
The 78-year-old Hall of Fame coach said with a smirk that he gave a retirement speech after the regular-season finale on Saturday but thinks “everybody missed it.”
He stopped short of stating definitively if he wished to return or step down on multiple follow-up questions.
“I always have the choice of retirement, but it’s their decision as to whether I coach or not, it always has been,” Boeheim said.
“Again, I’ve been very lucky to be able to coach my college team, to play and then be an assistant coach and then a head coach, never having to leave Syracuse. It’s a great university, the city has embraced our team.”
Benny Williams and Judah Mintz scored 18 points apiece to lead four players in double figures for SU, which saw its chance to extend its conference tourney stay slip away in the waning moments.
Syracuse called a timeout with 28 seconds left and the game tied at 74 points apiece. After a long offensive possession nearing the end of the shot clock, senior shooting guard Joe Girard III missed a contested 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining.
Wake Forest hauled in the rebound, and with no timeouts, star guard Tyree Appleby quickly dribbled up the court and handed it off to Williamson on the wing for the game-winner from behind the arc.
“Tough games when it comes down to the end like that,” Benny Williams said. “We’ve got to finish better, just make defensive plays and get better shots up, but I would say this is not going to sit well for us.”
Williams hit from deep to push SU ahead, 74-72, with 59 seconds left before Cam Hildrith scored on the ensuing Wake Forest possession to tie the game at 74 points apiece with 36 seconds left. Hildrith stopped in the lane with his back to the basket and twisted in mid-air to hit the mid-range bucket.
Daivien Williamson scored 17 points, Appleby tallied 15 points and 12 assists, and Bobi Klintman added 17 points and 11 rebounds as all five Wake Forest starters scored in double figures.
Senior center Jesse Edwards finished with 12 points and 10 boards, Chris Bell scored 11 points, and Girard was held to nine points on 2-for-8 shooting for SU.
Edwards, who had 27 points and 20 boards in a 72-63 home win over Wake on Saturday, finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds while battling constant double teams and foul trouble.
Williams also hauled in team highs of 11 rebounds and five steals for SU. The sophomore forward played just eight minutes in Saturday’s win against Wake Forest and had lost his starting spot for six games earlier this season.
Syracuse fell behind by 13 points midway through the second half before battling back. Wake Forest went on a 17-2 run and held SU without a field goal for six-and-a-half minutes, a stretch with 12 straight missed shots to fall behind, 56-43, before a Mintz 3-pointer with 10:33 left.
The Orange opened hot and led by as much as 12 in the first half. Williams and Bell scored eight points apiece, including an 8-0 solo run by Williams, to help SU to a 22-10 edge early.
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