A quick take on the first half of Syracuse’s Elite 8 matchup against Ohio State:
WHAT HAPPENED: Ohio State grabbed a 9-2 lead with 16:13 left with Jared Sullinger getting a pair of baskets inside. But with Sullinger in early foul trouble, SU took its first lead of the game at 22-21 after a dunk by Baye Keita on a nice feed from Scoop Jardine. The teams would play even the rest of the half.
HALFTIME HEROES: Scoop Jardine had seven points and Dion Waiters had six, but had to sit more than he normally does after he picked up 2 fouls.
KEY STATS: One game after allowing 14 3s from Wisconsin, Syracuse is doing a much better job with its perimeter defense. The Buckeyes are shooting 1 for 8 from beyond the arc. Syracuse is not doing any better, going 2 for 7.
SECOND HALF KEYS:
1. Foul Trouble: Four Orange have two fouls each while only Sullinger on Ohio State has two. SU played from under 14 minutes without Sullinger, but couldn’t fully take advantage. The game could be a battle of attrition later on.
2. Containing the inside game: Syracuse is actually outscoring Ohio State 14-12 in the paint. That will change with Sullinger back in the second half.
3. Shot selection: Syracuse was frequently settling for too many outside shots. SU coach Jim Boeheim said before he went into the locker room that the Orange will need to work for better looks. Kris Joseph, who is 2 for 9, and has been struggling all tournament long, needs to get going.