Defense was what Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was looking for against Michigan, and that's what he got as the Orangemen won 58-46 Tuesday night and advanced to the championship of the Maui Invitational.
Michigan star Louis Bullock scored just seven points on 2-for-12 shooting and backcourt partner Robbie Reid added five, going 2-for-10.
"If anyone said we'd hold them to 12 points, I thought we would win by 50," Boeheim said. "Our defense saved us. That was the story of the game."
With its massive front line, Syracuse controlled the boards, pouring in 18 second-chance points. The rebound totals were fairly even, with 6-foot-9, 231-pound Etan Thomas getting nine rebounds along with three blocks and 7-for-9 shooting.
"He's a load inside," Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said. "He's as good as anyone, anywhere."
To which center Josh Asselin added, "We were aware of him. Some shots were altered because we were aware of him."
Thomas' teammate ryan blackwell, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward, had 13 rebounds.
Thomas finished with 17 points to complement Jason Hart, who finished with 20.
Syracuse took control with a 14-4 run at the start of the second half, with Hart and Thomas each scoring five points to open a 36-25 lead.
Michigan (2-3) got no closer than four points the rest of the way, the last at 41-37 with 10 minutes left.
"We were still in the game right up to the end," Bullock said. "We couldn't get over the hump."
The Orangemen did not make a field goal during the last four minutes. But with the Wolverines forced to foul, Syracuse made 12 of 17 free throws down the stretch.
The slow pace by the Orangemen was be design, Boeheim said.
"We wanted the tempo to be like that," he said. "We didn't want to play up-and-down."
With the exception of 11 points by Hart, both teams struggled in the first half and Syracuse led 22-21 at the break.
Syracse shot 9-for-20 (45 percent) from the field in the first half, , while Michigan was 9-for-32 (28 percent), including a 0-for-6 effort by its Bullock, who finished with seven points.
The poor shooting also hurt Michigan in the second half. The Wolverines were 10-for-31 (32 percent), finishing at 30 percent overall. Leon Jones was their high-scorer with 13 points.
Ellerbe said Syracuse's defense played a part in Michigan's defeat, but the Wolverines didn't help their cause.
"I don't want to take anything away from their defense, but there were a lot of things we didn't do well. We just didn't make enough shots."
Syracuse made 20 of 50 shots but was 2-for-19 on 3-pointers.
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