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Syracuse holds on for Jim Boeheim’s 900th career victory

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(USA Today Sports Images)

No. 900 looked like a waltz for 35 minutes. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had little reason to leave his seat on the bench he has occupied for 37 seasons. Sure, he stood and paced a bit, even shouted directions to players now and then but another historic moment for the 68-year-old seemed all but certain

The Orange led Detroit by double digits most of the night, but Detroit found some confidence down the stretch and managed to slash what had been a 22-point deficit at one point to a one-possession game in the final minute.

Detroit went on a 19-3 run to cut the lead to three points with less than 28 seconds remaining, but Michael Carter-Williams made five of six free throws for Syracuse to make sure Boeheim could celebrate another milestone instead of having to wait for another game on a different night.

Syracuse 72, Detroit 68.

[Related: Jim Boeheim pleads for gun control reforms after victory]

Boeheim became just the third men's coach in Division I history to win 900 games, joining Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902).

True to his humble style. Boeheim was successful in taking the focus off of himself and putting it on his former teammate and Syracuse legend Dave Bing during a postgame television interview that could be heard over the public address system.

"Those are two of the great coaches of all time and I'm happy I've stayed around long enough to get to that point," Boeheim said. "I've won 900 games because of the coaches I've had all these years, players like these guys who've done so much, and I was a little nervous tonight because the greatest basketball player of all time at Syracuse is here and if it wasn't for him I would have never been here."

Boeheim and Bing were once roommates as well as teammates in the early 1960s at Syracuse. Bing is now the mayor of Detroit and both are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"I did take the ball out of bounds for him and give it to him," Boeheim joked.

[Related: UConn's pre-game ceremony pays tribute to Newtown victims]

The 900th win adds to a mountain of a resume Boeheim has compiled during his tenure with his alma mater. He has coached in 29 NCAA tournaments with 48 career victories in March Madness (fifth most all time). He has coached in three national title games, winning one in 2003.

He has 34 20-win seasons and is halfway to a 35th with the Orange undefeated at 10-0. He holds the Division I record for career wins at one school and wins by a coach who is coaching at his alma mater.

It hasn't been a slog to get to 900 either. More like a charge here.

Since the start of the 2009-2010 season, Syracuse is tied with Kansas for the fewest losses in the nation at 14.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleRingo

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