All the talk leading up to the Indiana-Syracuse matchup in
the Sweet 16 centered around Syracuse’s dynamic 2-3 zone defense.
On Thursday night, we found out why.
The fourth-seeded Orange stifled top-seeded Indiana all night with their length and athleticism, and the Hoosiers’ season ended with a 61-50 loss at the Verizon Center.
Indiana (29-7) turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and trailed
by double figures for most of the game. The Hoosiers never really did
solve the Syracuse zone, but they briefly got within six in the second
half thanks to some careless turnovers by the Orange.
Indiana shot 34 percent from the field (16-of-47), 20 percent from beyond the arc (3-of-15) and 63 percent from the line (15-of-24).
Indiana’s early offensive struggles were too much to overcome, especially when Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams got it going on the other end of the floor. The Hoosiers had no answer for Carter-Williams, who scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Carter-Williams, usually a poor perimeter shooter, also knocked down three shots from beyond the arc.
One of the main questions about the Hoosiers entering the season was whether guards Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls could play together in the same backcourt. For most of the season, the answer was ‘yes.’
But on Thursday night, both guards struggled against the length of
Syracuse. Ferrell committed four first-half turnovers and found himself on the bench to start the second half. Neither he nor Hulls scored a single point.
Hulls was 0-of-3 from the field and had a hard time staying in front of
Brandon Triche on the defensive end.
Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, and Cody
Zeller added 11 points and nine rebounds. Triche had 14 points for Syracuse.