Syracuse University knocked out top-seeded Indiana University 61-50 to advance to a regional final in the men’s national college basketball tournament.
Fourth-seeded Syracuse topped Indiana and No. 3 seed Marquette beat No. 2 Miami 71-61 last night in the East region. No. 2 Ohio State overcame sixth-seeded Arizona 73-70 and No. 9 Wichita State won 72-58 against No. 13 La Salle in the West.
“Our defense has been good all year and tonight it was really good,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said in a news conference. “This is one of our best defensive teams ever.”
In the remaining round of 16 games in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament tonight, it will be top-seeded Louisville against No. 12 Oregon and No. 2 Duke facing third-seeded Michigan State in the Midwest region, and No. 1 Kansas versus fourth-seeded Michigan and No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast playing third-seeded Florida in the South.
Michael Carter-Williams scored 24 points and Brandon Triche added 14 for Syracuse (29-9) at the Verizon Center in Washington. The Orange, who haven’t been to the Final Four since New York Knicks’ leading scorer Carmelo Anthony led them to the title in 2003, will meet Marquette in the regional final.
The meeting between the Hoosiers and the Orange was their first in the NCAA tournament since Indiana beat Syracuse in the 1987 title game. Indiana is the second of the four regional top seeds to be eliminated after Gonzaga lost its second game in the West region.
Victor Oladipo led the Hoosiers (29-7) with 16 points and Christian Watford had 13.
Jamil Wilson came off the bench to score 16 points for Marquette (26-8), which advanced to the regional finals for the seventh time. It won the title in 1977, was runner-up three years earlier, and has reached the Final Four three times, most recently in 2003.
“It’s fantastic. It feels good not to have to worry about, are you going to lose on a last-second shot or are you going to win on a last-second shot?” Wilson told reporters. “To have a cushion like that, these guys played with tremendous heart, and we did it all game.”
Vander Blue and Davante Gardner each added 14 points for the Golden Eagles at the Verizon Center.
Shane Larkin scored 14 points and Kenny Kadji added 11 for Miami (29-7), which was seeking to reach the regional finals for the first time after also losing in the round of 16 in 2000.
In the West region, Malcolm Armstead scored 18 points and Carl Hall had 16 for the Shockers (29-8) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Jerrell Wright and reserve Tyrone Garland each had 16 points for the Explorers (24-10).
Arizona tied its game against Ohio State at 70-70 with 21.8 seconds to play, before LaQuinton Ross hit the winning 3-pointer with two seconds remaining at the Staples Center.
“This is what every player grows up looking at on TV, wanting to hit that big shot for an NCAA tournament team,” said Ross, who scored 17 points. “It just feels great right now.”
Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes (29-7) with 20 points and Aaron Craft added 13. Mark Lyons led the Wildcats (27-8) with 23 points and Solomon Hill followed with 16.
The Buckeyes rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit against the Wildcats and will play Wichita State for a place in the Final Four. Ohio State reached the Final Four in 2012, their second visit to the national semifinals in five years, and won their only NCAA title in 1960.
The NCAA championship game is April 8 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
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