Two in the Final Four
Saturday’s NCAA action saw two teams dominate their opponents. The first game demonstrated what we knew, Marquette can’t shoot, and Syracuse has the best defense in the tournament.
Marquette had a good defense, so it was no surprise to see a final score of 55-39. The Orangemen’s 2-3 zone forced the Golden Eagles to take the majority of their shots from beyond the free throw line.
The game was played on Georgetown’s home court. Three weeks ago the Hoyas had devastated Syracuse on the same hardwood that was now the place where they earned a trip to Atlanta.
Marquette was never a challenge. They committed 14 turnovers, and made only 12 field goals, shooting under 23%. Forced to shoot 3 pointers, they made only 3 of 24.
If you are an NBA fan, you probably didn’t like this game. There were not many “slam dunks”, for that matter, there wasn’t much offense. College basketball believes that defense wins games, and yesterday Syracuse proved it once again.
Ohio State and Wichita State looked like a good match, on paper. The Buckeyes had two last second wins in the last two games, and the Shockers soundly defeated Gonzaga and La Salle.
But Wichita State was encouraged to “play angry”, and that’s what they did. At halftime the score was 35-22, Ohio State had shot just over 24%.
The Shockers increased their lead in the second half. With 11 minutes left, Wichita State led 56-36. Shockers’ forward Cleanthony Early sprained his ankle, and that’s when Ohio State began a comeback. They cut the lead to 62-59, with 2:48 left.
Guard Tekele Cotton made two big plays for Wichita State, a 3 pointer, and an offensive rebound which he kicked out to Fred Van Vleet who sank a jumper, and they were back up by 6 points. From that point they held of the Buckeyes to win 70-66.
Guard Malcolm Armstead had looked forward to competing against Aaron Craft. Armstead had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Craft missed 10 of 12 shots and finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists.
“He’s the head of the monster,” Armstead said of Craft. “I knew if I was able to match what he brought, I could numb the body.”
The Shockers are in the Final Four, headed to Atlanta. They haven’t come this far since 1965 when they lost in the semis to John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins.
Columnist-The Guardian Express