Orange zone squeezes IU, ending Hoosiers’ run in Round of 16
By LaMond Pope email@example.com March 28, 2013 11:16PM
Updated: May 1, 2013 3:10PM
WASHINGTON – Saturday’s East Regional final will have a reunion storyline.
Just not one involving Indiana.
Syracuse’s 2-3 zone left IU in a constant state of confusion in the first half. Indiana couldn’t climb out of the huge hole and lost to the Orange 61-50 in an East Regional semifinal Thursday at Verizon Center.
The top-seeded Hoosiers (29-7) committed 18 turnovers, as a year that started at the top of the preseason polls ended with a Sweet 16 exit for the second year in a row.
“We didn’t take care of the ball well enough. We gave them too many opportunities,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “… Let’s face facts, we haven’t seen a zone like that.”
An IU win would have set up a matchup between Crean and his former team, Marquette.
Instead, the victory by fourth-seeded Syracuse (29-9) makes the contest an all-Big East regional final.
Indiana looked little like the team that spent 10 weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation.
IU’s first field goal came at 13:48, when guard Remy Abell got to the rim and finished with a layup. By that time, Indiana was already down 11-5.
Syracuse built the big lead by using its length and athleticism to cause turnovers.
Ten minutes into the game, the Hoosiers had more turnovers (nine) than points (five).
The Hoosiers finished with 12 turnovers in the half, which resulted in 12 points for the Orange.
“They were just long and active,” said Victor Oladipo, who had 15 points. “We just didn’t take care of the ball like we should have.”
When Indiana wasn’t handing the ball to Syracuse, it was missing shots. IU shot 33 percent from the floor.
While IU starting guards Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell didn’t score, Syracuse guards Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche punished the Hoosiers.
Carter-Williams scored 12 points in the first half and finished with 24. Triche had eight points in the half, 14 for the game.
Indiana attempted to make a push after the break. The Hoosiers scored the first five points of the second half to get within 34-27.
But IU never got any closer than six points.
“We just could never get over the hump,” Crean said.
Indiana heads to the offseason facing uncertainty with its roster. IU loses seniors Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston. The three players helped IU go from 10 wins in the 2009-10 season to the program’s first outright Big Ten crown since 1993 this year.
“We’ve had a heck of a ride with this group,” Crean said.
IU could lose Zeller and Victor Oladipo, who finished with a team-high 15 points, to the NBA.
Both have been projected as first-round picks in mock drafts.
Neither would say whether Thursday was their last game with IU.
“I’ve put everything into this, I haven’t thought about it one bit,” Zeller said. “I had fun playing with these guys, we had a great year. But I haven’t thought about it at all.”