HAMILTON — After winning Thursday’s game against No. 1-ranked Indiana in the March Madness tournament, Syracuse University point guard Michael Carter-Williams looked to the stands to see his mother smiling and jumping for joy.
It’s a stark contrast to his game last week against University of California when he looked up during a timeout to see his mother, Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, crying and consoling his sister. He later found out that his family’s home at 261 Cutler Road in Hamilton was destroyed by a three-alarm fire.
Syracuse went into Thursday’s game against Indiana as underdogs, but pulled off a 61-50 win to play against Marquette University in the Elite 8 at 4:30 p.m. today.
“I think it gave them the kind of lift they needed, with the devastation that happened to their home,” said Shirley Berry, a family friend in Ipswich. “I know it meant a lot for everyone.”
Carter-Zegarowski, who is the girls basketball coach at Ipswich High, was joined by her husband, Zach, who originally was not going to make the game.
“I know it meant a lot for Michael,” Berry said. “I think it gave him the physical support he needed to play the game.”
Carter-Williams, who played for Hamilton-Wenham High School for one season before transferring to St. Andrew’s School in Rhode Island, scored 24 points and added five rebounds and four steals during the game. Many, including coach Jim Boeheim, say it was his best game all year.
“He had the best game of the season,” Berry said. “I didn’t expect them to win. They never lost their momentum and never got behind. It was one of the most exciting games I’ve watched.”
Carter-Williams has had the support of many of his teammates and family friends through what he has called a “tough time.”