The Syracuse Orange looked out of sync for most of their Final Four game against the Michigan Wolverines. However, despite the poor play, Syracuse staged a comeback and had a chance to take the lead late until a questionable offensive foul called hindered its chances at victory.
With less than 20 seconds to go and 'Cuse down by two points, senior guard Brandon Triche drove the lane and got called for a charge while trying to make a layup on Michigan's Jordan Morgan.
The call was a bang-bang play that could have went either way. The NCAA's most recent stance on the difference between a block and a charge was posted on ESPN.com last June.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports sarcastically tweeted about the foul.
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Wow. I didn't know you could take a charge if your feet were off the ground.4/7/2013, 3:32:41 AM
Unfortunately for the Orange, it went in favor of the defensem and Triche was forced to leave the game with five fouls. Michigan went on to make a free throw at the other end, making it a three-point game with just 18 seconds remaining.
The Orange had a chance to send the game into overtime but were unable to get a shot from behind the arc.
Freshman guard Trevor Cooney, who was forced into action due to both Triche and point guard Michael Carter-Williams fouling out, looked flustered and wildly drove the lane, putting up an ill-advised shot that had no chance.
While the charging call took away any momentum the Orange had late, it was only a part of why the game ended as it did.
Poor shooting and turnovers were the main culprit for the loss. For the game, Syracuse shot 41.8 percent from the floor, including just 21.4 percent from long range. The Orange committed 10 turnovers in the game.
Carter-Williams, who had looked impressive all tournament long, played his worst game by far. The sophomore guard had two points and two assists and committed five turnovers.
The call on Triche certainly wasn't the reason for the loss, but it certainly did not help. There's no guarantee he would have made both free throws (he was 3-of-4 on the night), but it's likely at least one would have fallen to pull the Orange within one point.
Regardless, Syracuse is not forced to watch the championship game and think about how to make another run next season.