Syracuse defense stymies Indiana in lopsided win

12:40 without a field goal. That is what Indiana went through in the second half while #4 Syracuse blew them out after the break for a 69-52 win in their first appearance in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Orange (8-0) simply suffocated their opponents, turning a tie game into a laugher that they led by 20 points when IU finally made a field goal. In that span, the Hoosiers (6-2) went 0-for-4 from the field (there were shooting fouls that erased some field goal attempts) with nine turnovers.

indiana

Indiana shot poorly against SU’s zone

The SU defense was not the lone story of the night. Trevor Cooney was masterful, finishing with 21 points, but also absorbed a foul ruled a flagrant two from Austin Etherington just past the midpoint of the second half. The play resulted in Etherington’s ejection.

The Orange came out of the locker room flying, as C.J. Fair hit a short jumper to start the scoring, then Trevor Cooney nailed a three to amp up the Carrier Dome crowd. Tyler Ennis dropped in a floater to force an Indiana time out three minutes into the action, but it was to no avail, as Cooney hit another three for a 10-0 lead at the first media time out.

The Hoosiers scrapped back in it, climbing back to 10-7 as the Orange went through a dry spell lasting just shy of five minutes. A pair of Jerami Grant putbacks, the latter a vicious dunk, restarted the Orange engine as they extended their lead back to 16-7. Fair and DaJuan Coleman would later make consecutive shots on the doorstep to make it a 21-12 SU lead with under seven minutes left in the first half.

After each team scored a deuce, Indiana seized the moment and took off on a 13-3 run, including a pair of threes to close the burst, for their first lead of the night at 27-26. Syracuse, though, righted their ship with the next four points to regain the lead.

» Related: Rapid reaction to Syracuse’s win

After a Hoosier basket, Jim Boeheim called a time out with under a minute on the clock with a 30-29 lead to draw up a final play. It worked perfectly, as Cooney drilled another three to push the Orange lead to 33-29. After SU forced a turnover, Fair had a look at a three of his own, but it rattled out just before the clock ran out.

The Hoosiers opened the second half with a pair of short jump shots to knot the game at 33 a side just over two minutes into the half, but that was when Syracuse put them into the deep freeze. The Orange ripped off 12 unanswered points, highlighted by Cooney converting a steal into his fourth triple of the night, then knocking down all three shots at the line when fouled beyond the arc on the team’s next trip.

After Indiana broke the streak with a free throw, Ennis hit a three, then made a lay-up on the next possession to push the SU lead to 50-34 as the second half neared its midpoint.

Following two Hoosier free throws, Cooney buried another triple and sprinted out of the pack after coming up with a steal. Cooney was fouled hard from behind by Austin Etherington, crashing into the basket support. After the officials reviewed the play, Etherington was assessed a flagrant two foul, meriting an automatic disqualification.

The Orange eventually nudged the lead out to 56-36 with under nine minutes to go. An Ennis steal shortly after led to a Cooney dunk, earning perhaps the loudest ovation of the night form the Syracuse faithful. The dunk also gave Syracuse their biggest lead of the night at 58-37. The Orange cruised home from there, never allowing Indiana closer than 17 points over the final 7:26.

Trevor Cooney’s game-high 21 points included five three-pointers. Tyler Ennis stuffed the stat sheet, ending with 17 points (including making 6-of-8 field goals), eight assists, and seven rebounds, the last two topping all players. Both Cooney and Ennis were credited with four steals. C.J. Fair also cracked double figures, finishing with 15 points. Rakeem Christmas registered three of SU’s seven blocks in the game.

Noah Vonleh led the Hoosiers with 17 points by doing most of his work at the line, knocking down 13-of-16 free throws. Yogi Ferrell was the only other Indiana player to reach double figures in scoring with a dozen. Indiana shot 36.6 percent from the field as a team and committed 16 turnovers on the night.

The Orange are off until Saturday, when they will welcome Binghamton into the Carrier Dome in a homecoming for former Syracuse point guard and basketball staffer Lazarus Sims, who is currently an assistant coach for the Bearcats.

Binghamton has gotten off to a slow start on the season, standing at 1-5. They look to improve on that mark Wednesday night against Mount St. Mary’s before coming to the Dome. Like SU, the Bearcats have played Cornell and Colgate on the year, but split their games, defeating Cornell. Jordan Reed is averaging a double-double for Binghamton at 15.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a contest. The game starts at 7:00pm is only available online at ESPN3.com.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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