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Top seed Syracuse loses 77-70 to No. 2 Ohio State

Syracuse's long season of off-court issues ended one win short of the Final Four.

On a night when the top-seeded Orange's famed 2-3 zone defense did an OK job, their offense let them down in a 77-70 loss to second-seeded Ohio State on Saturday night in the East Regional final.

Instead of heading to New Orleans, where they won their only national championship in 2003, the Orange (34-3) will return to central New York after a season that saw them ranked No. 1 for six weeks and never out of the top five.

It was also a season in which longtime assistant Bernie Fine was fired amid allegations of sexual abuse; starting center Fab Melo was ruled ineligible by the school for seven games, including the entire NCAA tournament; and there was a late-season report that former players were allowed to practice and play when they should have been suspended by the athletic department over positive drug tests.

Through all that, the basketball team started the season 20-0, earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and got within one win of the school's fifth Final Four appearance.