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.