Syracuse zone frustrates, eliminates Indiana

With its 2-3 zone defense disruptive from start to finish, and Michael Carter-Williams pouring in 24 points, fourth-seeded Syracuse upset No. 1 seed Indiana 61-50 Thursday night to reach the NCAA tournament’s East Regional final.

Syracuse limited Indiana to its lowest point total of the season, forced 19 turnovers, compiled 10 blocks and held the normally efficient Hoosiers to 33 percent shooting.

After getting past preseason No. 1 Indiana, Syracuse (29-9) will face No. 3 seed Marquette on Saturday night in an all-Big East matchup for a berth in the Final Four.

Get Tom Dienhart’s rapid reaction to the Indiana-Syracuse game:

Why Indiana lost: Indiana had 12 turnovers and just seven assists in the first half, digging itself a 34-22 hole. At one point, Indiana trailed, 29-11. The Hoosiers could never get over the hump. At one point, Indiana cut the Orange’s lead to seven, 34-27, going on a 16-5 run after trailing by 18. And IU cut it to 38-32 with 11:58 left. But poor shooting and turnovers doomed the Hoosiers. Indiana hit just 16-of-47 shots (34 percent) overall and 3-of-15 from 3-point range (20 percent). And the Hoosiers tied a season-high with 19 turnovers.

Key moment: Indiana cut the lead to 10, 56-46, with less than four minutes to play, looking primed to make one final run. But Syracuse outscored Indiana, 5-4, the rest of the way to take the victory. Indiana’s season ends in the Sweet 16 for a second season in a row. This season almost ended vs. Temple in the third round, as Indiana wasn’t sharp down the stretch in going 5-4 in its last nine games.

Key player: Victor Oladipo tried his best, scoring a team-high 16 points. But he got little support. Cody Zeller struggled, hitting 3-of-10 shots and tallying only 10 points. And time and again, he had his shot blocked. Freshman Yogi Ferrell failed to score for a second game in a row with four turnovers. He went a combined 0-for-4 with seven turnovers the past two games.

Key number: 62, Indiana’s free-throw shooting percentage. The Hoosiers came into the game shooting a Big Ten-high 74 percent. But IU hit only 15-of-24 from the charity stripe. And IU also was averaging a league-high 74 points but had just 50 vs. Syracuse’s vaunted zone.

What’s next: Indiana’s season ends short of the Final Four, which should have been the Hoosiers’ expectation after entering the Big Dance as a No. 1 seed—and the No. 3 overall seed. The 29-7 season was filled with many highs, including the program’s first outright Big Ten crown since 1992-93. But the Hoosiers could have done so much more. Now, Indiana Nation watches and waits to see if sophomore Cody Zeller and junior Victor Oladipo will turn pro. The careers of seniors Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls officially are over.


FINAL: Syracuse shocked Indiana on Thursday, pulling the 61-50 upset at Verizon Center in Washington in the Sweet 16. Michael Carter-Williams had a big game for Syracuse (29-9), with 24 points, five rebounds, and 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. The Orange also got double-digit performances from C.J. Fair (11 points) and Brandon Triche (14 points). Victor Oladipo contributed 16 points, corralled three rebounds, and knocked down 5-of-6 shot attempts for Indiana (29-7) in the loss. The Hoosiers shot just 34 percent from the field (16-of-47). Indiana went 15-of-24 from the charity stripe as a team (63 percent). The Hoosiers also got double-digit contributions from Cody Zeller (10 points) and Christian Watford (13 points).

HALFTIME: Indiana committed 12 first-half turnovers on its way to falling being Syracuse, 34-22, at halftime in the East Region semifinals. The Orange were leading 22-11 when they used a 7-0 spurt to widen their advantage to an 18-point margin. Michael Carter-Williams scored 12 points and recorded three steals to lead Syracuse. The Hoosiers, who pulled down seven offensive rebounds, shot 37 percent (7-of-19) from the field and 58 percent (7-of-12) from the charity stripe. Cody Zeller helped Indiana with six points and seven rebounds.

EDITOR’S NOTE In partnership with Narrative Science, posts fast recaps after every half of every Big Ten men’s basketball game. Use the links above for more info on this specific game.

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Show Comments (5 Comments)
5 Post Your Comment
Reality check on 3/28/2013 @ 11:32pm EDT Said:

The nation needs to see IU vs Michigan in the title game, and Doug you owe larry an apology. He is a good employee and has a brilliant basketball mind.

Craig on 3/29/2013 @ 8:21am EDT Said:

Finally….. I can enjoy the rest of the tournament now! Way to go Orange!

Doug on 3/29/2013 @ 10:31am EDT Said:

Mark, I’m sure Larry is good cleaning restrooms stalls. You do realize M vs IU would only have been a final four game not a title game? You may want to consult Larry more often.

Reality check on 3/29/2013 @ 11:52am EDT Said:

Michigan blows Kansas out tonight and you do not own Belein you see I am smarter than you

Doug on 3/29/2013 @ 12:18pm EDT Said:

Hey Mark, I know you’re obsessed with me and MSU, so after Kansas beats Michigan tonight, I’ll give Larry the night off cause I know you guys will be in mourning.

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