CHICAGO — Michael Gbinije made a go-ahead layup with 22 seconds left, sending Syracuse to a 63-60 victory over Gonzaga on Friday night and a spot in the Elite Eight.
Tyler Lydon sealed the win with a block on Josh Perkins’ runner in the final seconds. Lydon then grabbed the ball and made two foul shots before Domantas Sabonis’ desperate fling was well off at the buzzer.
Gbinije scored 20 points and Trevor Cooney had 15 as Syracuse (22-13) advanced to the regional final for the first time since 2013. The 10th-seeded Orange will face No. 1 Virginia on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.
Kyle Wiltjer had 23 points for No. 11 Gonzaga (28-8), and Sabonis finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds. The rest of the Bulldogs accounted for just 18 points.
Gonzaga looked as if it was heading to the final eight for the second straight season before Syracuse switched to full-court pressure late in the second half. The Bulldogs held the Orange to 36.1 percent shooting, but committed 17 turnovers and Syracuse took advantage down the stretch.
Sabonis’ rebound basket gave the Bulldogs a 57-48 lead with 6:24 to play, but it was their last field goal of the night. Tyler Roberson’s foul shot got Syracuse within one before Gonzaga gave it right back with a 10-second violation. Lydon also had a key block on Sabonis to help keep it a one-point game.
Gbinije drove inside in the final 30 seconds and missed his first attempt before grabbing the rebound and putting it in for a 61-60 lead. Cooney then had a hustle steal on the other end, but stepped out of bounds in a close call that had fans looking for TV monitors all over the arena to see if they agreed.
With the crowd standing on its feet, Perkins drove into the lane and Lydon stepped up for the block before grabbing the ball and getting fouled with 1.6 second left. The freshman forward finished with six blocks.