PITTSBURGH – A quick take on Syracuse’s 75-59 win against Kansas State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange overcame sloppy first-half play to run past KSU in the second half to win going away. Guard play stood out as Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche saw the floor nicely dishing for 11 combined assists, while Dion Waiters chipped in with 18 points, combined with Jardine’s 15.
ANALYSIS: The Orange broke open a close game six minutes into the second half when on consecutive possessions Jardine found Rak Christmas for dunks. The Orange strategy to take it to the basket paid off, putting K-State into team foul trouble as the Orange shooting the bonus for the final 9:00 of the half. The zone defense was at full force inside and out, with Christmas and James Southerland active underneath.
HEROES: Jardine and Christmas. The freshman big man had 11 big boards to go along with eight points, and was mobile on his feet throughout.
ZERO: The season-long rebounding woes continued in the first half with K-State grabbing 12 more boards 28-16, and the ‘Cats Jordan Henriquez had 11 himself. SU did turn it around on the boards after halftime out rebounding the ‘Cats by four.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange (33-2) advance to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four seasons next Thursday night at the TD Garden in Boston to face 4-seed Wisconsin (26-9). Time: TBA / TV: TBABrad Bierman