DENVER (Ticker) -- Gerry McNamara picked up where he left off from the first half of last year's national championship.
McNamara nailed nine 3-pointers and poured in a career-high 43 points as fifth-seeded Syracuse posted an 80-75 victory over No. 12 Brigham Young in the first round of the Phoenix Region.
With star forward Hakim Warrick in foul trouble, McNamara put on a performance reminiscent of his first half in last year's national title game against Kansas, when he drained six from the arc. He fell four points shy of Bill Smith's school record for points set in the 1970-71 season.
"It's definitely the best game I've ever played in college," McNamara said. "Hakim went out and we were struggling a little bit and I felt good so I kept shooting. Fortunately for us, they fell."
The 43-point performance was the best in the NCAA Tournament since Miami-Ohio's Wally Szczerbiak scored 43 against Washington in the 1999 event.
"Gerry was in another world today and I don't think we will see the likes of that in forever," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
Despite McNamara's unbelievable shooting, Brigham Young (22-8) had a chance to win and took a 73-72 lead on Rafael Araujo's follow slam with 3:24 left. Warrick answered with a layup to give Syracuse the lead for good before McNamara drained his ninth 3-pointer with a deep shot with 2:14 left.
Mark Bigelow's jumper shaved the deficit to two points 17 seconds later and the Cougars missed opportunities to tie or take the lead. Jake Shoff missed a 1-and-1 opportunity with 1:24 to go and Bigelow's 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining misfired.
"When Jake Shoff missed his free throw, there was a mad scramble for the ball and we just tried to get a couple shots up," Bigelow said. "With about (20) seconds left, I had an open shot and I just missed it."
McNamara, who registered the highest scoring total in an NCAA Tournament game in school history, made 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 16 seconds to seal a second-round matchup with 2002 champion Maryland for the defending national champions.
Brigham Young came out hot by hitting five of its first six 3-pointers against Syracuse's famed 2-3 zone. The Cougars led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but McNamara's scoring spree near the end of the half highlighted an 18-5 tear that forged a 42-42 tie at intermission.
"If he (McNamara) didn't shoot that well, we probably would have been up by 20 in the first half," Cougars coach Steve Cleveland said. "We led by 11 and he went on a run."
Warrick scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half for Syracuse, which shot 53 percent (24-of-45). He had little trouble against BYU's less athletic forwards.
"We were going to try to get Hakim more involved in the offense," Boeheim said. "We thought that could take some pressure off Gerry."
Araujo collected 24 points and 12 rebounds for BYU, which carved up Syracuse's zone early before cooling off. The Cougars made 8-of-14 from the arc in the first half before going 2-of-12 after the Orangemen switched to mostly man-to-man defense for the final 20 minutes.
"Defensively, we did a great job," Boeheim said. "We went to a man-to-man and we have played man-to-man in 10 games."