Instant Juice: Syracuse 78, San Diego State 62

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 19: Buddy Boeheim #35 of the Syracuse Orange looks to pass against Trey Pulliam #4 of the San Diego State Aztecs during the second half in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

A quick take on Syracuse’s dominant 78-62 win over San Diego State on Friday night in the NCAA Tournament’s Second Round:

WHAT HAPPENED: Already up 32-18 at half, Buddy Boeheim’s torrid first half continued into the second. He buried a pair of 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run to give Syracuse an insurmountable 48-29 lead, and the Orange upset the sixth-seeded Aztecs to move to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. After a cold start for both teams, the Orange could do little wrong on offense, finishing shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 15-27 downtown. Boeheim, who came in averaging 25.2 ppg over his last four games, was spectacular once again, finishing with 30 points on 7-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

ANALYSIS: As good as Syracuse was on offense, it was just as impressive on defense, completely baffling San Diego State with its vaunted 2-3 zone. The Aztecs were content to try to beat the zone by shooting over the top of it, hitting just 11 of its 40 shots from 3-point land, and 34.8 percent overall. Though SDSU turned the ball only five times, they also only went to the line seven times throughout the night.

HERO: Normally at this time of the year, Jim Boeheim has whittled down his rotation to six players, or begrudgingly, seven. But in a rarity, Jim Boeheim willingly subbed in an effective eight-man rotation, with Jesse Edwards (5 rebounds), Robert Braswell (nine points) and Kadary Richmond (5 points) all playing key minutes off the bench. Outside of Buddy Boeheim, Marek Dolezaj chipped in 11 points, four rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Joe Girard added 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

» Related: Syracuse playing in an NCAA Tournament unlike any other in history

ZERO: MWC Player of the Year Matt Mitchell curiously settled for 3-pointers, and the Orange was willing to let him fire (and miss) freely. Mitchell finished with 17 points, but shot 1-9 from 3-point land. Terrell Gomez had similar struggles, shooting 1-7 from downtown for 3 points. For Syracuse, Alan Griffin played poorly for the second straight game, going scoreless on 0-2 shooting from the field.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will take on the winner of No. 3 West Virginia and No. 14 Morehead State, which was underway at the conclusion of SU’s win.

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About Wes Cheng 2635 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.