Score: No. 4 Syracuse 55, No. 3 Marquette 39
Star(s):Syracuse:Michael Carter-Williams 12 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast. James Southerland 16 Pts, 4 Reb.
Story: For the first time since 2003, Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange have advanced to the Final Four.
It was a tough matchup for Syracuse, considering Marquette had seen and beaten the zone earlier this season. But the defense held tough and limited the Golden Eagles to just 39 points, almost 30 points below their tournament average. While the Orange shot just 38% on the night, Marquette shot an even more woeful 23% from the field. In the end, the Golden Eagles just didn't make enough shots to survive and advance.
The Orange came out strong, stifling Marquette early and jumping to a double-digit lead on a breakaway layup from Brandon Triche. The Golden Eagles had a tough time getting anything going, scoring just seven points in the game's first 13 minutes. But as is often the case, Syracuse went cold, and Marquette was able to hang around. Davante Gardner became a problem for the Orange in the paint, single-handedly keeping Marquette within striking distance. Syracuse led by just six points at the half.
But the Orange ran away with the game in the second half, outscoring Marquette, 31-21. C.J. Fair and Michael Carter-Williams made key baskets to push the Orange's lead back up to double digits, while the defense forced MU into enough turnovers to keep the Golden Eagles from ever mounting a run.
The common saying is "defense wins championships". For the Orange, it's at least got them headed to the Final Four.