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UNC-Asheville nearly pulls off historic upset

UNC-Asheville's JarLane (5) Syracuse's Baye Keit(12) battle for loose ball first half an East Regional NCAA tournament second-round college basketball

UNC-Asheville's Jaron Lane (5) and Syracuse's Baye Keita (12) battle for a loose ball in the first half of an East Regional NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game on Thursday, March 15, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

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PITTSBURGH — Reserve James Southerland had 15 points and a season-high eight rebounds and Syracuse avoided becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 when it rallied for a 72-65 victory over UNC-Asheville on Thursday in the East Regional.

The Orange entered the tournament without starting center Fab Melo, who was declared ineligible for academic reasons, and they almost left early with a piece of history no team wants.

Syracuse (32-2) will play eighth-seeded Kansas State in the third round on Saturday at the Consol Energy Center. The Wildcats beat Southern Mississippi 70-64.

The Orange overcame a terrible game from 3-point range (5 of 23) to beat the much-smaller Bulldogs (24-10), who had talked Wednesday of becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1.

J.P. Primm had 18 points for UNC-Asheville.

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