Syracuse Basketball: Individual Performances That Crushed Orange vs. Michigan

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 7, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 06:  James Southerland #43 of the Syracuse Orange reacts in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at the Georgia Dome on April 6, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

While Saturday's Final Four showdown between Syracuse and Michigan was highlighted by a tremendous performance from the Wolverines, the Orange certainly didn't help themselves, making plenty of mistakes and missing numerous opportunities to pull ahead and advance. 

Whether it was Michael Carter-Williams coughing up more turnovers than any other player or Trevor Cooney's late gaffe, Syracuse's heartbreaking loss was highlighted by a few gut-wrenching moments.

Below we'll highlight a trio of individual performances that crushed Syracuse vs. Michigan.


Michael Carter-Williams Gets Swarmed

Sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams was huge in Syracuse's wins over Indiana and Marquette in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight respectively, combining for 36 points, 13 rebounds seven assists and just two turnovers in the two comfortable victories. 

Unfortunately, the Orange's top playmaker had a nightmarish evening against Michigan in Atlanta, scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting, recording two assists and turning the ball over five times. 

The 6'6" star missed both of his three-point attempts and failed to get to the free-throw line at all.

It's unlikely that the Orange reach the Final Four in 2013 without the sensational play of Carter-Williams through the first few rounds, but there's no doubt that his inability to deliver in the biggest moment of the tournament crushed Syracuse on Saturday.


Trevor Cooney's Late Desperation

Freshman guard Trevor Cooney only played five minutes on Saturday night against Michigan, but he took, forced and missed the most important shot of the game with under 10 seconds left to play in regulation.

Cooney, who scored three points on 1-of-3 shooting from the floor, took over for senior Brandon Triche after he fouled out late and dribbled into paint only to force up a terrible shot that Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. easily reeled in. The Orange were down three points at the time and would never get another shot at the tie as the clock expired after a Wolverines' dunk at the other end.

It's still confusing as to why Jim Boeheim felt comfortable putting the ball in a freshman's hands in such a big moment. Sure, it wasn't predictable, but it's hard to argue Syracuse made the right call late in the game, putting all the pressure on Cooney's shoulders. 


James Southerland Disappears

Syracuse senior forward James Southerland was averaging 11 points per game in tournament play coming into Saturday, but before knocking in a late 3-pointer, the 6'8" star had just two points on one made field goal.

Southerland would finish with just five points on 2-of-9 shooting. He was nonexistent from beyond the arc, hitting just 1-of-5 three-point shots, and failed to make an impact on the glass for the Orange, pulling down a measly three rebounds in 27 minutes.

As a senior starter, Syracuse fans were expecting a whole lot more from Southerland, the team's third-leading scorer this season.

Credit to Michigan's defense, but unfortunately, Southerland's final college performance was also one of his most disappointing.


Link to Printable PDF
Link to Live Bracket

Follow all the exciting NCAA Tournament action with March Madness Live


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter