'Twas a night where connections with the net were hard to come by at times.
An evening of woes from the charity stripe.
But the darkness that overcame Syracuse (28-9) was not enough to keep them away from the light of the following morning, when the Orange will wake up as competitors in the upcoming Sweet 16.
Beginning their match with the California Golden Bears (21-12) down 2-0 at 18:32, Syracuse would battle from behind for a mere 24 seconds.
Once senior guard Brandon Triche connected from deep at the 18:08 mark, the Orange would take the lead and never give it back for the remainder of the game, holding the advantage for more than 38 of the allotted 40 minutes.
The closest California would come was at 10:40 left in the first half, off of a dunk by junior forward Robert Thurman, which shrunk their deficit to two points, at 11-9.
Syracuse junior forward C.J. Fair aided in preventing a change in advantage away from the Orange by scoring 14 points to lead the team and all players on both sides in the first half.
Fellow forward, senior James Southerland, known for welcoming the net with his own attempts from long range, assisted his teammates in two made three-pointers while making two himself before the break.
The Orange headed into the locker room ahead 32-24 with 20 minutes to play.
Southerland, who made the final shot of the first half for Syracuse, connected first for the team in the second half, with a dunk at 19:29.
But the Orange would follow with a dry spell from the field, failing to make a shot in more than 12 minutes.
However, during their offensive woes, Syracuse's defense would help keep the team from dipping below California, with three blocks and three steals to lessen the Golden Bears' opportunities.
While having their opportunities condensed, the Golden Bears were providing more to the Orange. During their offensive drought, Syracuse was given 18 free shots. It was with these opportunities that the Orange were able to keep their advantage, although missing seven of their attempts.
Their 11 made free throws provided for a 10-point lead for Syracuse before their second field goal of the latter half, a jumper by sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams with 7:20 remaining.
Of the 19 points the Orange would score in the final seven minutes, 11 would come at the charity stripe.
In total, Syracuse made more attempts from the free throw line than they did from the field, 26 to 18.
They took 40-plus tries from both the charity stripe and the field, 41 and 46, respectively, but were more than 20% more successful at the free throw line, 63.4% to 39.1%.
As opposed to their 41 attempts from the line, the Orange only allowed the Golden Bears 19 tries from the charity stripe.
It was not a trouncing by 40-plus.
It was not scoring at will.
But it was a win, 66-60, and in single-elimination territory, that was all Syracuse needed to move into the nation's final 16.
Playing their first two matches on the other side of the country, the Orange will return to the east coast to take on either the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers or 9th-seeded Temple Owls in the nation's capital.