Sweet 16: Turnovers, blocks send Indiana home

2013-03-29T00:00:00Z Sweet 16: Turnovers, blocks send Indiana homeThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

WASHINGTON - It took winning a national title for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to get over a late-shot loss to Indiana the last time the schools played in the NCAA tournament.

This meeting, 26 years later, was never close enough to come down to the final seconds, thanks mostly to Boeheim's trademark 2-3 zone defense. Now he has the Orange one victory from getting back to the Final Four.

"Our perimeter defense was tremendous," Boeheim said. "This is one of our best defensive teams ever. They play it well."

Limiting Indiana to its lowest output of the season while forcing 19 turnovers and blocking 10 shots, fourth-seeded Syracuse used Michael Carter-Williams' 24 points to upset the No. 1 seed Hoosiers 61-50 Thursday night and reach the East Regional final.

After getting past preseason No. 1 Indiana, Syracuse (29-9) will face No. 3 seed Marquette on Saturday night in an all-Big East matchup for a berth in the Final Four.

Syracuse lost at Marquette 74-71 during the Big East regular season on Feb. 25.

Less than a half-minute into Thursday's game, as Indiana star Victor Oladipo headed to the free-throw line, the arena's overhead scoreboard showed a replay of "The Shot," as it's come to be known - Keith Smart's baseline jumper in the final seconds that lifted Bob Knight's Hoosiers past Boeheim's Orange in the 1987 national title game.

Boeheim said he wasn't able to put that behind him until 16 years later, when he got his title. Boeheim entered Thursday with 50 wins in the tournament, fourth-most in history, and more than 900 victories overall, with so much of that success built on his unusual zone defense, 40 minutes of a puzzle for opponents to try and solve.

Indiana (29-7), like most teams outside the Big East, isn't used to seeing that sort of thing, and it showed right from the outset. Didn't matter that Indiana ranked third in the country this season in scoring, putting up 79.5 points per game - and never fewer than 56 - while making 48.6 percent of its shots.

The Orange held Indiana to 33 percent shooting and frustrated the Hoosiers - from the players down to the coach, Tom Crean.

"Let's face facts. We haven't seen a zone like that," Crean said. "They're very good. They're where they're at for a reason."

Cody Zeller was held to 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting. Victor Oladipo scored 16 for Indiana, none easily.

"Credit them," Oladipo said. "They did a great job with their zone. They're well-coached."

The Hoosiers needed more than 10 minutes of action to record their second field goal, and they didn't crack double figures in points until Zeller's tip-in with 14 minutes elapsed made it 22-11.

Even with no one guarding them, the Hoosiers couldn't put the ball in the basket, failing to make their free throws consistently, starting 3 for 8.

It all helped Syracuse build an 18-point edge, at 29-11 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half, on C.J. Fair's inside basket. Fair finished with 11 points, while Brandon Triche - whose uncle, Howard, was on the 1987 team that lost to Indiana - scored 14.

• Marquette 71, Miami 61: In Washington, D.C., Vander Blue's buzzer-beater came at the end of the first half. For a change, Marquette didn't need one at the end of the game.

After sweating through a pair of edge-of-your-seat comebacks in the NCAA tournament, Blue and the Golden Eagles figured out how to put one away early, earning Marquette's first trip to the Elite Eight since 2003.

Blue, who spurred the rallies that beat Davidson by one and Butler by two, finished with 14 points. He wasn't Marquette's leading scorer - that was Jamil Wilson with 16 - but it was Blue's offensive and defensive energy that pushed the Golden Eagles to a double-digit lead in the first half, a spread Miami never came close to making up.

"It's fantastic. It feels good not to have to worry about, are you going to lose on a last-second shot or are you going to win on a last-second shot?" said Wilson, who also had eight rebounds. "To have a cushion like that, these guys played with tremendous heart, and we did it all game."

The third-seeded Golden Eagles (26-8) will face No. 4 seed Syracuse in the East Regional final on Saturday.

Marquette was knocked out in the round of 16 the past two years and four of the last five.

The game wasn't hard to decipher. Marquette could shoot; Miami couldn't. The Hurricanes (29-7) had sentiment on their side, returning to the arena where coach Jim Larranaga led mid-major George Mason to the Final Four seven years ago, but they made only 35 percent of their field goals and missed 18 of 26 three-pointers.

"You ever have days where you're just out of sync or things just don't run along smoothly?" Larranaga asked.

"Almost like our trip over here. Our hotel is a mile and a half, it took us 45 minutes to get here. We had to go on nine different streets, weaving our way in and out of traffic and everything.

"And that's the way it seemed on the court. We were trying to find our way and never could.

"Never could get in rhythm offensively and defensively. I don't think we communicated like we have been doing all season long."

Shane Larkin scored 14 points to lead the No. 2 seed Hurricanes, whose NCAA run to the round of 16 matched the best in school history.

"There are only two things you have to do in basketball - one, put the ball in the basket, two, stop the other team from putting the ball in the basket. We weren't able to do either," Larranaga said.

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