Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Rick Jackson scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Syracuse handled Indiana State, 77-60, in an East Region second-round meeting.
C.J. Fair came off the bench and chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds, while Kris Joseph added 12 and 10 for the third-seeded Orange (27-7), who advanced to take on 11th-seeded Marquette on Sunday. Syracuse lost the only regular season meeting between the Big East rivals.
“I like to play other teams when we get to the NCAA, to tell you the truth. But it’s what it is,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said of the upcoming matchup. “We’ve got to get ready to play. Marquette’s very good. They beat us early this year at their place and they played very well.”
Jake Kelly provided 12 points for the 14th-seeded Sycamores (20-14), who couldn’t keep up with the fast-paced Orange, allowing them to shoot 52 percent from the field.
The Orange began to pull away six minutes in when Scoop Jardine nailed a three-pointer to ignite an 11-0 run, which Dion Waiters capped with a jumper for a 25-11 cushion.
Indiana State, the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champions, stayed close by hitting five three-pointers in the final 10 minutes of the half, but still trailed 38-30 at the break.
Jake Odum sparked the Sycamores coming out of the locker room in a variety of ways. His two free throws four minutes in pulled the underdogs within 42-38, but that was as close as it got.
Fair responded with a jumper and Jackson threw down a dunk off a turnover for a 51-38 advantage with 12 minutes on the clock.
The margin was cut to 10 on Aaron Carter’s layup with eight minutes left, but Kelly missed a jumper the next time down and Brandon Triche drained a back- breaking three-pointer for a 59-46 lead.
The closest Indiana State got from there was a dozen.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well, but I think that has everything to do with Syracuse and the style that they play,” Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing said. “I thought when we cut it to 42-38, we turned it over a few times and really didn’t give ourselves a chance.”
Syracuse has advanced to the Sweet 16 the previous two years…The Orange improved to 53-33 in the tourney, while Indiana State fell to 5-4 in four all- time appearances…Dwayne Lathan, Indiana State’s only double-digit scorer during the season with 11.0 ppg, scored seven points in the loss…Jardine had nine points and nine assists. He appeared to injure his wrist late in the game but said in the post-game press conference that he was “fine”.