Orange Squeezes Hoosiers; Advances To Elite Eight
The thing about a game plan is, for it to be successful, you have to stick to it. In its East region semifinal match up against top seeded Indiana, Syracuse's game plan was obvious from tip-off: be aggressive on offense and on defense.
The Orange stuck to the plan, and it worked, as Syracuse (29 - 9) dismantled Indiana, winning 61-50 in front of a mostly pro-Orange crowd at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The Orange jumped out to an 11-3 lead, a lead Syracuse would never relinquish, using speed and size on both ends of the court. Defensively, Syracuse stymied the Hoosiers, forcing 17 turnovers, 12 in the first half alone, and blocking 11 shots.
The Orange held Indiana (29-7) to a season low 22 first half points. Numbers even more jaw-dropping? Syracuse's starting guards combined for 38 points while Indiana's starting back court of Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls both failed to score in the game.
Cody Zeller, the Indiana big man who is considered to be a consensus first round pick in June's NBA draft, was held to a pedestrian 10 points on the night, shooting just 3 of 10 from the floor.
Offensively for Syracuse, Michael Carter-Williams was a difference maker. The sophomore tallied a career high 24 points, consistently making use of his considerable size advantage over the IU guards with slashing drives to the bucket for layups.
Not only that, but Carter-Williams also made three of his five three-point attempts. Brandon Triche added 14 points for Syracuse.
Next the Orange will head to its second straight Elite Eight and a matchup with a familiar foe, Big East rival Marquette on Saturday night. The Golden Eagles beat Syracuse 74-71 in Wisconsin in the two team's only match up this season.
Actually, this will be the second time in three years that Buzz Williams' team will face Jim Boeheim and the Orange in the NCAA Tournament. Marquette upset Syracuse in the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2011.