Rapid Reaction: Syracuse 55, Marquette 39
March, 30, 2013
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com
WASHINGTON -- A look at Syracuse's 55-39 win over Marquette in the East Regional final Saturday.
Overview: This was hardly a work of art. But nothing involving Big East teams tends to be beautiful this season.
Syracuse manhandled Marquette in the way the Golden Eagles should be used to this season. The Golden Eagles were completely flummoxed by Syracuse's zone defense and were rendered useless against it throughout the game.
Syracuse's offense wasn't that much better for most of the first 25 to 30 minutes before the Orange clicked effectively. The Golden Eagles couldn't shoot, make 3s or keep possessions alive with multiple offensive rebounds. The stats weren't telling the whole truth. The numbers said the Orange did well on the offensive boards, but they didn't finish at any kind of high percentage.
Meanwhile, Syracuse had Michael Carter-Williams getting to the line on drives, James Southerland making 3s and an effective C.J. Fair.
This might not be Syracuse's most talented team, but it has ended up being one of the Orange's best teams under coach Jim Boeheim. This team gets the way he wants to play, and uses its length and size exceptionally well to run the zone to perfection.
The Orange got to celebrate on Big East rival Georgetown's home court with a Final Four trip, something that had to be especially sweet to Boeheim, the Orange and all their fans.
Turning point: The Golden Eagles had cut the lead to five points at 30-25 nearly midway through the second half, and it looked like Marquette had a chance to actually make this a game. But Fair hit on a spin move inside, and then Southerland converted a traditional three-point play to push the lead to 10. Carter-Williams then drove through the lane uncontested for a layup, and the lead was up to a dozen.
Star of the game: Carter-Williams had an exceptional floor game, but the difference might have been Fair. He seemed to hit critical shots at the most opportune times. Also, if I could nominate the defense, I would. The Orange zone was suffocating again.
What's next: Syracuse is heading to its fourth Final Four under Boeheim and first since it won the title in 2003. The Orange flirted early in the season with this type of run but then hit a rough patch in the heart of the Big East season. Syracuse ended up losing seven games in the Big East. But save for one poor half against Louisville in the Big East tournament title game, the Orange have been one of the most dominant teams in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse hasn't had to sweat a last possession in any of its four tournament games thus far.