Another opponent fell victim to No. 4 seed Syracuse’s suffocating zone defense as the Orangemen strapped up No. 3 seed Marquette in a 55-39 winning performance in the first Elite Eight contest of the day on Saturday March 30 in Washington, D.C.
It was an intense defensive battle between Syracuse (30-9) and Marquette (26-9); neither team could score more than 25 points well into the second half of the game.
But Syracuse’s half-court zone was the difference-maker as the Orangemen caused enough late-game turnovers to ignite a double-digit scoring run to sprint away with a commanding lead.
Marquette guard Vander Blue led his losing team with 14 points. Blue made just 3-of-15 shots from the field; Marquette forward Davante Gardener added 14 points off the bench, but no other Marquette player scored more than six points as the team made just 22 percent of its shots for the game.
Syracuse was led by forward James Southerland, while forward C.J. Fair added 13 and Michael Carter-Williams scored 12.
Meanwhile No. 9 Wichita State upset No. 2 seed Ohio State in the only other action on Saturday; Wichita State (30-8) took a double-digit lead early in the first half and never looked back, keeping Ohio State (29-8) at a comfortable distance for the remainder of the game.
Four players scored double digits in points for Wichita State, including guard Malcolm Armstead with 14 points, forward Cleanthony Early with 12 points, forward Fred Vanvleet with 10 and Tekele Cotton with 12.
Ohio State struggled shooting early on, which caused them to fall behind. OSU forward Deshaun Thomas still managed to score 23 points while LaQuinton Ross added 19 off the bench but the team shot just 31 percent combined from the field.
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