A quick take on Syracuse’s 69-52 win over Indiana in the Big 10/ACC challenge on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange turned a tightly contested 33-29 halftime game into a blowout after SU’s zone smothered Indiana in the second half. Noah Vonleh’s jumper with 17:48 tied the game at 33. By the time Vonleh connected on Indiana’s second field goal in the second half, there was 5:08 left and Syracuse led 60-42. While Indiana struggled to shoot, Trevor Cooney and backcourt mate Tyler Ennis had no such problems, accounting for 23 of SU’s 36 points in the second half. Syracuse shot 51 percent for the game and 6-13 from distance.
ANALYSIS: These two teams last met in March, and the game had similar trajectories. In SU’s 61-50 win over Indiana in the Sweet 16, the 2-3 frustrated the Hoosiers to the tune of 33 percent from the field and 3-15 shooting from downtown. The numbers were similar on Tuesday evening, with the Orange holding Indiana to just 36 percent from the field and 4-14 from downtown. While it’s hard to find too many faults in Syracuse’s performance against a quality Big 10 team, SU returned to its early struggles from the free throw line after one of the best stretches in school history at the Maui Invitational. While it doesn’t matter too much in lopsided games, SU was just 15-25 from the line.
HERO: Cooney led all scorers with 21 points on 5-9 shooting from downtown while Ennis chipped in 17 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and just two turnovers. Super frosh Vonleh led Indiana with 16 points and 6 rebounds, hitting 13-16 free throws.
ZERO: The officials were busy on the night, whistling 42 fouls, including a nasty foul on Austin Etherington. Etherington was chasing Cooney, who had a fastbreak dunk with around 9 minutes left in the second half, but Etherington slammed into Cooney’s back, sending him face-first into the padded basketball support. Officials had no problem whistling a flagrant 2, and Etherington was ejected from the game. There’s simply no place for plays like that in basketball, and fortunately Cooney wasn’t injured.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will host Binghamton on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m. TV: ESPN3.