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Orange fans in Watertown watch Syracuse fall to Dayton, ending NCAA Tournament run


A loud groan went out at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Arsenal Street on Saturday night as Tyler Ennis’s last-second three-point shot bounced out, securing Syracuse University’s 55-53 loss to the University of Dayton Flyers.

The Orange’s run in the NCAA tournament would go no further.

“It wasn’t meant to be,” Matthew R. Dunn, of Adams, said immediately after the game. “That’s the way it happens.”

Mr. Dunn, who completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the university, said the better team won. Sitting with his wife, Lauri A., who went to Syracuse for graduate school, he said the loss wouldn’t change his loyalty to the team.

“If Jim Boeheim said jump, I’d jump,” Mr. Dunn said.

Despite his positive outlook after the defeat, Mr. Dunn said one thing that will not bounce back is his bracket. He picked Syracuse to win it all, a tradition he said keeps does every year.

“I live, die, breathe Syracuse always,” Mr. Dunn said.

The loss was underscored by an overall poor shooting percentage, with the Orange missing all 10 of their three-point-shot attempts.

“A high school team could have beat them,” said Howard R. Rieger of Watertown, who sat at the bar with his wife, Debra L. “You can’t go at this level and not make any threes.”

Mrs. Rieger tried to take a more optimistic approach to the loss.

“Next year, next year,” she said. “Always got to look for the future.”

It wasn’t all frowns at the restaurant, as a handful of patrons could be spotted in the pack of orange wearing University of Dayton gear. Two Flyers fans, Timothy P. Wall and Douglas J. Burke, graduated from the school in 2011. Friends through their studies there, the two are now Army soldiers stationed at Fort Drum.

Mr. Wall said he felt the nerves going down the stretch, up until the final shot.

“As soon as it bounced out, I could breathe easy,” he said.

After upsetting Ohio State University and now Syracuse, Dayton will face the winner of today’s game between Stanford University and the University of Kansas.

“It’s a hard battle ahead,” Mr. Wall said.

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