Game Analysis: Syracuse didn’t need Arinze Onuaku to win big in this one as it raced out to a big lead early in the first half, withstood a mini Vermont rally near the end of the half then blew the game open in the final 20 minutes to take home a 79-56 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
How Syracuse Won: The defense, which had been missing in back-to-back losses heading into the tournament, was excellent especially in the first half when the Orange opened up the huge lead. Syracuse also outrebounded the Catamounts, 40-29.
Turning Point: After Maurice Joseph gave Vermont a 3-0 lead, Syracuse went on a 37-8 run. It was all downhill from there.
Player of the game: Wesley Johnson led five Syracuse players with 18 points.
Unsung player of the game: Brandon Triche has been in a funk lately so his 10 points on 3 of 5 shooting from three-point range is a good sign for the Orange.
And 1 Mix Tape worthy: Scoop Jardine came of the bench to score 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting. His killer crossover dribble on poor Nick Vier is a keepsake highlight.
Brother to brother: During pregame introductions Maurice and Kris Joseph gave each other a warm embrace. They both scored their team’s first field goals of the game.
Stat of the Game: The Orange was 10 of 22 from three-point range.
Surprise Stat of the Game: Vermont grabbed 16 offensive boards. Not a good sign for Syracuse.
He Said It: “It must be bedtime for you. It’s way past mine.’’ – Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to the media at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
In the House:18,948
Next Up: Syracuse plays No. 8 seed Gonzaga at 12:10 p.m. on Sunday.