The Orange (28-9) frustrated California with their zone defense to overcome a dismal shooting night when they made just 39 percent of their shots and missed 15 of 41 free throws.
But it proved to be enough to send Syracuse to Washington, D.C., for the East Regional where the Orange will take on the winner of Sunday's game between top-seeded Indiana and Temple on Thursday.
Richard Solomon scored 22 points for the Golden Bears (21-12), who were trying to make it to the round of 16 for the first time in 16 years and just the third time since 1960.
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