Syracuse Hangs On To Win NCAA Championship

(NEW ORLEANS, April 8, 2003)

-- The glass slipper finally fits Jim Boeheim. Syracuse has won its first NCAA basketball championship by outlasting Kansas 81-to-78. It's the first title for Boeheim, who lost in the 1987 and '96 finals before a pair of freshmen led him to victory.

Carmelo Anthony shook off persistent back pain to get team highs of 20 points, ten rebounds and seven assists. Anthony was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four, getting 53 points and 24 rebounds in the last two games.

Fellow freshman Gerry McNamara scored 18 points, all coming on six three-pointers in the first half. The Jayhawks had two chances to force overtime. Hakim Warrick snuffed out the first one by blocking Michael Lee's three-point try with one-point-four seconds left. Kirk Hinrich shot an airball at the buzzer to clinch it for the Orangemen.

Jayhawks senior Nick Collison had 19 points and 21 rebounds before fouling out with about 24 seconds left. Collison helped Kansas wipe out most of an 18-point, first-half deficit.