Less than 24 hours after Michael Carter-Williams and the Syracuse men's basketball team were bounced from the Final Four by Michigan, the sophomore point guard from Hamilton was able to keep this season in perspective.
"You know, playing in the Final four is something that is a great accomplishment. We're not going to judge our season on the last game," Carter-Williams said from Syracuse, N.Y. last night. "A lot of people counted us out and didn't have us making it that far. I think we went past our expectations (this season) and everyone played great."
The Wolverines were able to find soft spots in Syracuse's stingy zone defense in the first half, and the Orange simultaneously seemed to have one of their worst offensive games of the season. Despite a late push, Michigan was able to hold on for a 61-56 victory.
Syracuse came into the national semifinal allowing less than 46 points per game in its four tournament wins. The Orange only allowed 34 points against Montana and 39 in their win over Marquette, but the Wolverines led 36-25 at halftime.
"I don't think they were doing anything too special (offensively)," Carter-Williams said. "They had a couple players come off the bench and hit four threes. We didn't know much about those players and they stepped up real big."
Michigan's big name players — Associated Press Player of the Year Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Glen Robinson III — were kept in check for the most part, but a pair of lesser-known freshmen knocked down some big shots in the first half.
Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht each hit a pair of triples to help the Wolverines open a double-digit halftime advantage. Coming into the game, LeVert and Albrecht had combined to make only 23 three-pointers the entire season.