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.