The win moves Kentucky to 26-8 on the season and 16-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. UK is now 4-3 all-time in NCAA Tournament second-round games.
Matthew Mitchell earned his 200th career win tonight in the game, sitting 200-99 in his career as a head coach. Mitchell is now 170-70 in his seventh season at Kentucky.
Kentucky advances to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the last five years. UK will play the winner of seventh-seeded Cal and second-seeded Baylor on Saturday, March 29 at the Joyce Center in Norte Dame, Ind. The Cal-Baylor game is scheduled for a 9:15 p.m. ET tipoff tonight at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
UK, which hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, is now 2-0 in NCAA Tournament games at Memorial Coliseum.
UK moves to 3-0 all-time against Syracuse. This was the first meeting between schools since 1995.
Syracuse finishes the season at 23-10 and is now 1-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse earned its first NCAA Tournament win in school history on Saturday, defeating Chattanooga 59-53 in a first-round match.
This was the Orange’s second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and third in the last eight seasons under head coach Quentin Hillsman. Overall, it was SU’s sixth trip to the Big Dance.
Coach Hillsman, who is in his eighth season at Syracuse, has a 167-98 all-time record with the Orange.
Both teams went on shooting droughts midway through the first half as Kentucky went over five minutes (10:51-5:38) without a field goal and Syracuse nearly four minutes (9:28-5:49) without a made basket before Kentucky went on a 10-2 run to grab a 30-20 lead. Syracuse answered with a 5-2 run to end the half, cutting UK’s halftime lead to seven at 32-25.
Kentucky shot 36.4% from the field in the first half, while Syracuse hit at a 31.3% clip. Syracuse led the rebounding margin at 21-20, while SU had 12 turnovers to UK’s six.
The teams traded baskets for start of the second half before UK earned its biggest lead of the game at the 15:51 mark going up 40-29. The Orange answered with a 15-6 run to cut the lead to two at 46-44 with under 12 minutes to play.
Kentucky increased its lead back to 10 with a 9-1 run to make it 55-45 with 7:06 to play in the game, but the Orange answered again with a 9-3 run to cut the Kentucky lead to 58-54 at the under 4:00 media timeout.
UK’s defense limited Syracuse to just five points the rest of the way, clinching a 64-59 win and a spot in the Sweet 16.
Kentucky ended the game 36% from the field on 21-of-58 shooting, while Syracuse was 21-for-63 for 33%. SU won the rebounding margin 41-38, while UK forced 23 Syracuse turnovers to Kentucky’s 15.