CHICAGO -- Jim Boeheim could not remember a better comeback in Syracuse history.
If anyone would know, it is Boeheim. At 71 years old, he is in his 40th year coaching the program.
Yet even Boeheim was surprised by the Orange's wild rally for a 68-62 win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday. The Orange closed the game on a 31-11 run and erased a 16-point, second-half deficit to advance to the Final Four for the sixth time in school history.
Syracuse (23-13) will meet North Carolina or Notre Dame in a national semifinal on Saturday in Houston.
"They willed this game," said Boeheim, who sat several feet away from senior leaders Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney. "They made plays that you would think from a basketball perspective could not be made. They made them. They deserve all the credit in the world."
The credit extended from seasoned upperclassmen to a pair of first-year phenoms. Freshman forwards Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon combined for 29 points in the second half, including back-to-back 3-pointers that fueled a 15-0 run.
Richardson finished with a game-high 23 points for 10th-seeded Syracuse, which stunned top-seeded Virginia in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional final. Gbinije and Lydon each added 11 points. The Orange trailed by 16 points early in the second half and trailed by 15 with 9:32 to play.
"This is a dream come true for me," Richardson said.
Syracuse became the first No. 10 seed in NCAA history to advance to a Final Four. Before Sunday, 10th-seeded teams were 0-9 in regional finals.
Guard London Perrantes scored 18 points to lead Virginia (29-8). Guard Malcolm Brogdon added 12 points despite shooting 2-of-14 from the field.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett tried to encourage his players after the game. The Cavaliers finished one victory shy of their third consecutive 30-win season.
"We'll have some tough nights because you're so close you can taste it," Bennett said. "But, absolutely, joy will come in the morning for what these guys have established for Virginia basketball."
Virginia guard Devon Hall missed a 3-pointer that would have evened the score at 65 in the final seconds. Lydon pulled down the rebound and made a pair of free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining to extend the lead.
Syracuse trailed 37-21 before clawing back for a 59-58 lead with 5:50 remaining. Richardson made a left-handed layup during a 27-7 run that put the Orange on top. He showed no evidence of his freshman status as he made a driving layup, buried a 3-pointer from the right wing and finished with another layup to give the Orange a six-point lead with 3:23 to go.
Brogdon said defending Richardson proved to be a challenge.
"He's an extremely talented freshman," Brogdon said. "He has a hesitation to his game that makes you freeze a little bit. He can shoot it from range and he can get to the rim. I thought we struggled with him all game."
Virginia went nearly six minutes without a field goal before Anthony Gill scored on a layup with 1:49 remaining. Gill's basket cut the deficit to 64-60.
Syracuse's comeback astounded Virginia, which led 54-39 with less than 10 minutes remaining. Reserve center Mike Tobey sparked a 12-5 run with a layup and a slam dunk that put the Cavaliers up by double digits.
The Orange carved a 14-point halftime deficit to 39-32 thanks to pressing defense and an 11-2 run that included a pair of driving layups by Cooney.
Perrantes drilled five 3-pointers in the first half to help Virginia establish a 35-21 lead at the break. The Cavaliers forced eight Syracuse turnovers and tallied 11 assists on 12 first-half baskets.
Gill said the abrupt finish to the season was difficult to accept.
"Just being so close to something that you wanted for so long, I would say that's the biggest shock," Gill said. "We had a big lead and we let it go."
NOTES: Virginia G Malcolm Brogdon became the ninth player in school history to score at least 1,800 career points. ... Syracuse F Tyler Lydon made a 3-pointer despite losing his left shoe in the first half. Lydon retrieved his errant shoe and tied the laces during the next timeout. ... Syracuse and Virginia played against each other in the NCAA Tournament for the third time. The schools also met in 1984 and 1990. ... Syracuse G Michael Gbinije, who grew up in Richmond, Va., said he enjoys playing against teams from his home state. "There's a sense of familiarity," he said. ... Virginia F Anthony Gill has had more on his mind than high-stakes basketball. Gill will marry his fiancee April 8. "I think about it every day, mainly because my fiancee won't let me forget about it," Gill joked.