WASHINGTON – Indiana had no answers for Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and just as few solutions against the Orange’s offense Thursday.
The result was the No. 1 seed Hoosiers bowing out of the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 for a second year in a row, this time with a 61-50 loss to the No. 4 seed Orange.
Indiana (29-7) was eliminated in the regional semifinals last season by eventual champion Kentucky.
Syracuse (29-9) will play No. 3 seed Marquette on Saturday in the East Regional finals with a chance to advance to the Final Four in Atlanta next week. The Golden Eagles (26-8) advanced with a 71-61 win over No. 2 seed Miami (29-7) in Thursday night’s first semifinal game.
The Hoosiers were baffled by the Orange’s defense.
Indiana committed 18 turnovers, leading to 15 Syracuse points. The Hoosiers went 16 of 47 from the floor and 3 of 15 on three-pointers. They also struggled on free throws, going 15 for 24.
Victor Oladipo led IU with 16 points, and Christian Watford and Cody Zeller added 13 and 10.
Syracuse, which had 11 blocks and 11 steals, had few problems on offense. The Orange went 21 of 48 from the floor and hit 4 of 10 three-pointers.
Michael Carter-Williams scored 24, and Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair added 14 and 11.
Indiana’s struggles started from the tipoff as the Hoosiers were limited to three points, all on free throws in the game’s first six minutes as the Orange took an 11-3 lead. Remy Abel scored IU’s first field goal on a layup with 13:48 to play in the half.
Syracuse pushed its lead to 29-11 with 3:37 to play in the first half before Indiana showed some fight in the closing minutes.
The Hoosiers outscored the Orange 11-5 in the final 3 1/2 minutes to cut the deficit to 34-22 at halftime.
Indiana had 12 turnovers in the first half, leading to 14 points for Syracuse.
The Orange, which blocked six shots and had seven steals in first half, limited the Hoosiers to 7-of-19 shooting and 1-of-7 shooting on three-pointers. IU also went 7 for 12 at the free-throw line.
Indiana started the second half with a different look as junior Will Sheehey replaced freshman Kevin Yogi Ferrell in the lineup, and the Hoosiers responded with a 5-0 run in the first 1 1/2 minutes to cut the Orange’s lead to 34-27.
Oladipo hit a three-pointer with 14:11 to play to cut Syracuse’s lead to 38-32, but the Orange responded with a 14-5 run for a 52-37 lead with 7:25 to play.
Note: Oladipo was named a first-team All-American by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and Zeller earned NABC second-team All-American honors.