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NCAA Tournament, Syracuse 77 - Indiana State 60: Action Jackson

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It didn't take very long for Rick Jackson to establish himself in the paint last night. And as soon as he did, as soon as we saw just how much bigger, faster and stronger he was than anyone else on the Indiana State team, it gave Orange fans everything they needed to know about the game ahead. Sure, there were some iffy moments in there, but Rick Jackson's dominant performance sent a message to SU fans everywhere. "We got this one."

Yes they did, winning 77-60 and moving on to the "third" round of the NCAA Tournament.

Jackson, Syracuse’s 6-foot-9 senior, dominated the game from tip to buzzer. He scored a season-high 23 points, and he really came through when the Orange needed him.

Kris Joseph scored 12 points and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds for the Orange, while freshman C.J. Fair scored 14 points off the bench. Fair had seven boards.

The Orange dominate ISU, as they should have, in almost every category. They out-rebounded the Sycamores 35-25. They had a better field goal percentage (52% to 40%). They made better shots from the critical three-point range (44% to 33%). Perhaps the most impressive of all, the advantage in free-throw shooting (24-31 vs. 9-14), led by Rick Jackson who sank nine of his eleven freebies.

Of course, the Orange also led in the turnovers category (8 to 7) as sloppy play continued to pockmark their way to victory.

If there's anyone who needs to shake this game off and move forward, it's Brandon Triche. Trichey has a rough night, leading the Orange with five turnovers and four fouls. He hit that big three-pointer late to snap out of it a little but it was a "put a towel over your head and sit glumly next to Boeheim" kind of night.

Scoop's nasty wrist injury is going to be something to keep an eye on. Say what you will of Scoop's decision-making (and I do) but he's critical at this juncture. And we can't afford to lose any starters again.

If Rick Jackson was the MVP, C.J. Fair was 2nd Most Valuable Player. Fair scored 14 points and did about seven different "garbage play" things that helped out in a big way. When in doubt, C.J. is there to clean up everyone else's mess.

I've noticed a lot of folks pooh-poohing the win, saying how unimpressive it was and getting glum. Personally, I think SU fans thinking that way need to step back and get some perspective. Yes, the Orange COULD have beaten ISU by 30. But they DID beat them by 17. And they never trailed after the opening bucket. And they had double-digit leads over most of the game. And even when the Sycamores made their runs, it never really felt like the game was slipping away.

I don't know, I don't see much reason to complain over a 17-point win in the NCAA Tournament when so many other top seeds struggled and/or lost. Perspective, people. It doesn't get any easier from here on out. Enjoy this one.

Up next is our old friend Marquette at 7:40pm EST. Revenge is a dish best served in Cleveland. Let's serve it.

Links and videos after the jump...

  • Syracuse Basketball vs Indiana St (NCAA) Recap The Sunny Side: Rick Jackson Rules Inside and Syracuse Moves on in the NCAA Tournament...Brent Axe
  • Syracuse Basketball vs Indiana St (NCAA) Recap The Dark Side: REAL Late Start, Brandon Triche Struggles and is Scoop Jardine's Wrist Injury Ok?...Brent Axe
  • Syracuse Basketball vs Indiana St (NCAA) Recap This, That, and the Other Thing...Brent Axe
  • Indiana State has no answer for Syracuse's man in the middle, Rick Jackson...Donna Ditota
  • C.J. Fair plays key role for Syracuse; Orange extends zone; and the NCAA tourney becomes CBS' late-night alternative to Letterman...Mike Waters
  • Former Syracuse player and assistant Louis Orr watches Orange beat Indiana State...Mike Waters
  • Syracuse's basketball future in the NCAA Tournament may well rest with its young players...Bud Poliquin
  • The Syracuse Orange has advanced in the NCAA Tournament . . . and that's all that matters...Bud Poliquin
  • Sharing some SU-Indiana State notes...Bud Poliquin
  • Fair's big bucket halts Indiana State rally, propels SU to run that puts game away...Daily Orange
  • Jackson continues to carry Orange, propels SU to NCAA Tournament win over Sycamores...Daily Orange
  • Not particularly impressive, but a win nonetheless...The Juice Online
  • Syracuse Defeats Indiana State, Faces Marquette Next...SB Nation NY