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Syracuse takes down No. 1-seeded Indiana

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Mar 28 2013 11:28:34 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 29 2013 12:01:43 AM CDT
Syracuse beats Indiana

Reuters

WASHINGTON -

Syracuse is in a zone. And the Orange can thank their zone defense for another trip to the Elite Eight.

No. 4 seed Syracuse built up an 18-point lead in the first half and went on to post a 61-50 victory over No. 1 seed Indiana on Thursday in the East Region semifinals. It was the lowest point total of the season for the Hoosiers.

The Orange (29-9) will face Marquette on Saturday at 4:30 EST in the East Region title game after holding Indiana to 33.3 percent shooting from the field.

"The one thing that teams don't see is how long we are until they are approaching our zone defense," said Syracuse forward James Southerland, who had seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals to go with five points.

"Not too many teams are used to our zone," said Syracuse guard Brandon Triche, who had 14 points. "We are very long. We are very active. We are hard to score on."

Syracuse forced a season-high 19 turnovers by IU and had 12 steals and 10 blocks against the Hoosiers, who ended the season 29-7 as top players Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo were not definitive on their possible NBA plans.

"Let's face it: We haven't seen a zone like that," said Tom Crean, the Indiana head coach. "The stat of the day is we did not take care of the ball. We get never get out of the hump. They played well. They deserved it. They move on and we call it a great year."

"They have great length," Crean added. "They swarm to the ball. They are very good. It just wasn't meant to be."

"Our defense has been good all year," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "Tonight I thought it was very good. We made some really good defensive plays against them."

Syracuse (29-9) got 24 points from Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. Fair had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Indiana (29-7) was led by local product Victor Oladipo, who had 16 points while Christian Watford had 13 and Cody Zeller had 10 points and nine boards.

Zeller was asked if he had played his last game for the Hoosiers.

"I have put everything into this," he said. "I have not thought about it one bit."

"I have been focusing on Indiana Hoosier basketball," Oladipo said, when asked about his future. "I will never forget this team."

Crean said he will be "a voice of reason" when talking to Zeller and Oladipo about their pro aspirations and draft prospects.

Syracuse, which led 34-22 at halftime, saw its lead cut to 34-27 on a basket by Oladipo early in the second half. His 3-pointer cut the lead to 38-32 with 14:10 left in the game.

But the Orange took a 51-37 lead on a 3-pointer by Carter-Williams with 9:05 to go and Triche scored to make it 56-40 with 5:37 left.

Southerland of Syracuse made two free throws with 1:45 left to make it 60-46 as IU fans began to head to the exits around midnight, perhaps to catch the Metro which stayed open one hour later than normal due to the late start of Thursday's second game.

"We just wanted to get to the basket," Triche said. "We didn't want to shoot too many jumpers. We just did a good job of getting to the lane and getting them in foul trouble."

Syracuse was 15 of 20 from the foul line while IU was 15 of 24.

The Orange won even though they had just four assists on 21 field goals.

Syracuse led by 18 points late in the first half before Watford hit a 3-pointer to make it 31-20 with 1:31 left.

After a basket and free throw by Fair made it 34-20, a basket by Indiana's Will Sheehey trimmed the Syracuse lead to 34-22 at the break.

Carter-Williams had 12 first-half points to lead all scorers, and his team made 14 of 30 shots from the field (46.7 percent). Triche added eight points in the first half.

Indiana was limited to 19 first-half shots from the field and made only seven while committing 12 turnovers against the tough Syracuse zone defense.

The Orange had just six turnovers in the first half and put intense pressure on the Hoosiers with seven steals and five blocks.

Oladipo scored seven first-half points.

NOTES: Oladipo, a junior averaging 13.6 points, played in high school at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., just a few miles north of the Verizon Center. "I won a couple of city championships with DeMatha, won a couple of AAU championship games here, and there hasn't been a lot of hoopla," Oladipo told reporters Wednesday of playing at the Verizon Center. "My family has been fortunate to come out and watch me play because they live so close." ... Indiana reserve junior guard Maurice Creek is from Oxon Hill, Md. ... Syracuse freshman reserve Jerami Grant, son of former Washington Bullets player Harvey Grant, also played in high school at DeMatha Catholic.

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