A quick take on Syracuse’s 81-34 win over Montana in the second round of the NCAA tournament:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse deflated any hope of an upset as they jumped out to an early 20-4 lead 8 minutes into the game. SU made it a point of establishing CJ Fair on the interior, and he responded with 9 points in the run. By halftime, the Orange led 38-15, holding Montana to 5-25 shooting, and Syracuse would cruise the rest of the way.
ANALYSIS: Seth Davis predictions aside, there were no surprises in this game. Syracuse never let the Grizzlies think they had any shot at staying with the longer, more athletic Orange. The 2-3 zone frustrated and flustered Montana all night, and the Syracuse offense hummed, mostly because they were able to get inside with ease. SU shot 52 percent from the field and was 5-11 from 3. They also assisted on 18 of 27 baskets.
HERO: CJ Fair was featured early and got SU out to its large lead. He finished with 13 points and 3 rebounds, mostly because he didn’t play in the second half because of the lopsided score. Brandon Triche has officially snapped out of his shooting slump. He led the way with 20 points and was 5-6 from the field, 2-2 from downtown, and 8-10 from the free throw line. DaJuan Coleman had 12 points in mop-up duty after not playing in the Big East tournament.
ZERO: Billed as an outside shooting team that could possibly bust the SU zone, Montana simply couldn’t find any offense. They shot 20 percent from the field, and 4-31 from downtown, as no player scored more than five points. They were also manhandled on the glass, as SU had a 38-28 advantage.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will face California on Saturday at 9:40 p.m. in the third round of the NCAA tournament at the HP Pavilion. It will amount to a home game for the Golden Bears, who are a mere 45 minutes from San Jose. TV: TBS.