NCAA Tournament: Syracuse Dominates Gonzaga 87-65; The Slipper Is Ill-Fitting

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NCAA Tournament: Syracuse, Gonzaga To Determine Whether Slipper Still Fits

For more, check out our Syracuse blog, Nunes Magician, and our Gonzaga blog, The Slipper Still Fits.

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Wes Johnson poured in a career-high 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, leading Syracuse to an 87-65 victory over Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Andy Rautins scored 24 for Syracuse (30-4), which has won its first two games in the West Region by a combined 45 points. The top-seeded Orange beat Vermont by 23 in the first round and will next face Butler in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Salt Lake City.

Johnson, the Big East Player of the Year, and Rautins combined to make 9-of-15 three-point tries for Syracuse, which finished 12-of-25 from beyond the arc. The Orange again played without center Arinze Onuaku, who also sat out Friday's contest because of a quadriceps injury suffered during the Big East Tournament.

Syracuse will make its 19th appearance in the Sweet 16 and second straight. The Orange lost to Oklahoma last year in the regional semifinals.

Elias Harris scored 24 points for Gonzaga (27-7), which knocked off Florida State in the first round on Friday. West Coast Conference Player of the Year Matt Bouldin didn't score for the first 24 minutes and finished with only eight on Sunday after leading the Bulldogs with 17 in their first-round win.

Gonzaga opened a 13-8 lead early in the contest, but Syracuse answered with a 14-4 run. A three-pointer by Scoop Jardine gave the Orange a 15-13 edge and a shot from beyond the arc by Rautins capped the surge to make it 22-17 with 11 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

Harris followed with consecutive baskets for Gonzaga and Syracuse lost center Rick Jackson with 8:58 to play in the half when he picked up his third foul, but the Orange scored nine straight points without him and opened a 31-21 advantage on a Johnson jumper.

Gonzaga followed with a 7-1 spurt to draw within four, but the Orange responded with 11 in a row as part of a half-closing 15-4 run. Rautins ignited it with a jumper and Brandon Triche hit a three-pointer to give Syracuse its largest lead at that time at 46-30 before the Orange went into the break with a 47-32 margin.

Syracuse made 7-of-14 three-point tries in the opening 20 minutes, while Gonzaga was just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Triche scored all of his 13 points in the first half for the Orange.

The long-range accuracy continued for the Orange early in the second half, as Rautins made a trio of threes and added three free throws in a 13-2 run. His last make from the stripe gave Syracuse a 60-34 advantage with 16:20 to play.

Two free throws by Johnson extended the Orange cushion to 30, 71-41, with just over 12 minutes left. Syracuse cruised from there, leading by as many as 32.

Jardine finished with nine points and Jackson had five with nine rebounds for the Orange, who shot 54.7 percent overall...Robert Sacre scored 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished just 3-of-21 from three-point range....Bouldin made only 3-of-13 shots from the field and missed each of his six three-point attempts...Syracuse reached 30 wins for the first time since the 2002-03 squad finished 30-5 and captured the NCAA championship...Gonzaga fell to 0-5 when facing a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs also lost to top-seeded North Carolina in last year's tourney...Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim notched his 44th career NCAA Tournament win, tying him with Jim Calhoun for seventh on the all-time list...This was the first meeting between the schools.

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