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March 29, 2013

Syracuse Stifles Top-Seeded Indiana, 61-50

By Cindy Ferguson

A few weeks ago, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was ready to give up on basketball. “I’m pretty much ready to go play golf some place,” Boeheim told reporters. It was less than half an hour after SU’s blowout 61-39 loss to Georgetown at the Verizon Center, the team’s worst defeat since 1962.

Wednesday, Boeheim seemed to have forgotten the difficult moments of that late-season slump – and so has everyone else on the team.

Fourth-seeded Syracuse pulled off a magnificent Sweet-16 win over first-seeded Indiana, leaving the team looking lost and confused. Indiana was supposed to be the team to beat, but SU, with its length and 2-3 zone pushed the Hoosiers out of their comfort zone and into dysfunctional: they shot at just 33%, and 20% from the three-point mark, with 19 turnovers... Ouch.

“Our zone is great,” said sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams. “We’re very long in the zone and we contest every shot and either get a blocked shot or hope they miss and force them into a tough shot. So we did a great job”.

Fourth-seeded Syracuse pulled off a magnificent Sweet-16 win over first-seeded Indiana, leaving the team looking lost and confused.

Carter-Williams himself was the star of the game. He added a career-high 24 points, along with 4 steals, 1 block, and 6 rebounds. He was a force to be reckoned with; even covered by Victor Oladipo, defensive player of the year for the Big Ten, Carter-Williams scored one basket after another, helping Syracuse pull ahead by 14 points. He made 9 of 19 and had 3 three-pointers.

The Orange were already up in the first half. They had a 9-0 run early in the game, with Brandon Triche scoring the first 4 points for an 11-3 lead. The Hoosiers, on the other hand, committed 11 fouls and shot 7 of 19 from the floor and 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. As the half approached, Indiana coach Tom Crean tried a zone, but to no avail.

By the time the buzzer sounded, SU was up 34-22. It was Indiana’s worst first-half deficit all season, and the lowest point total. The Hoosiers’ worst deficit before Thursday night was 3 points.

Indiana had spent days preparing for the match, watching videos and practicing with the ball, trying to prepare for SU’s notorious defense. But it wasn’t enough.

“When teams practice against the zone, it’s a false sense of security because you’re not playing against our defense,” explained Boeheim.

Indiana coach Tom Crean agreed. “I’m sure the strength and size of the Syracuse guards had something to do with it,” he said of the loss.

Indiana regained some of its balance in the second half, but it was already too late. Oladipo added a team-high 16 points, and Cody Zeller added 10.

“We didn’t take care of the ball like we should have”, Oladipo said of the turnovers.

“That was our game plan to come in here and just use our length against them and just get in the passing lanes and force them into some turnovers,” said Carter-Williams. “It was just an all-around effort and everyone played so well”.

Syracuse will next face Marquette on Saturday, aiming for a spot in the Final Four.

About the Author

Cindy Ferguson is a high-ranking sports writer, currently writing reviews on NHL Hockey for the sports betting industry. Feel free to reprint this article in its entirety on your site, make sure to leave all links in place and do not modify any of the content.