Syracuse moved on to the Elite 8 for the second straight season with a 61-50 win over top-seeded Indiana. Here’s some thoughts from the game:
INDIANA STIFLED BY THE ZONE
Jordan Hulls has had better days. Not only did he go 0-5 from downtown and not score, but he was also a huge defensive liability on the floor. Brandon Triche scored 14 points, many of those baskets in the paint with Hulls attempting to guard him. Hulls was giving up 30 pounds and four inches to Triche, and the Orange took advantage. Another Hoosier who had a rough night was Cody Zeller. He looked confused and frustrated by the zone, and consistently had his shot blocked. Credit goes to the Orange defense, which held Indiana to 34 percent shooting from the field, and 3-15 from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers also turned the ball over 18 times as the Orange had 11 blocks and 11 steals.
CARTER-WILLIAMS CARRIES SU
Michael Carter-Williams showed why he is considered one of the top guards in this year’s draft class. His career-high 24 points and surprisingly sharp outside shooting (3-5 from 3) despite some of those “No, no, no… YES!” 3. Even with Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year Victor Oladipo switched on him, MCW still only committed two turnovers. You know that Carter-Williams loves the spotlight, and he displayed it again in SU’s biggest game of the season.
FREE THROWS MATTER, IN A GOOD WAY
Free throws played a factor in this game, but not the way we thought it would. One game after going 26-41 at the line, SU was a much more respectable 15-20 on Thursday. Baye Moussa Keita continued his tear from the line, going 3-4 despite taking a nasty spill in the first half and injuring his left wrist. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers were 15-24 from the line, with the normally steady Oladipo going 5-8.
Syracuse has now made the Elite 8 for the ninth time, and it is the first time in program history that the team has gone to back-to-back Elite 8s. Boeheim has always taken pride in SU making the Final Four once a decade, and the Orange are due. They will get their shot in the Saturday game at 4:30 p.m. at the Verizon Center.