In his four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas State Wildcats (22-11) head coach Frank Martin has advanced to the Sweet 16 just one time. This season, the Wildcats hoped to change that, but the Syracuse Orange (33-2) had the last say so. Senior guard Scoop Jardine had 16 points, eight assist and five rebounds to lead Syracuse over Kansas State 75-59.
The Wildcats, known for their solid defense, failed to stop 1-seed Syracuse offensively in the second half. Syracuse shot 66 percent from the floor in the second period, which led to a 50-35 route of the 8-seed Wildcats. James Southerland, who was big in the second half for Syracuse knocking down corner three-pointers, finished the game with 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Dion Waters led all scorers with 18 points, while Kris Joseph added 11. As a team, Syracuse shot 51 percent from the floor and 66 percent from the three.
Kansas State, who lost senior Jamar Samuels prior to game time due to eligibility issues, fell in the third round of the tournament for the second straight year. The Wildcats proved that it could compete in the tournament, jumping out to an early lead and gave Syracuse trouble early in the second half. However, the turning point would come early in the second half after Jordan Henriquez picked up his third foul with the Wildcats trailing by one.
After Henriquez had to sit with foul trouble, Syracuse opened up a nine point advantage and started to gain momentum. Syracuse would then go on to outscore the Wildcats 42-27 after Henriquez’s third foul, which was too much for the short-handed Wildcats to overcome.
The Wildcats, as a team, had 22 offensive rebounds and 37 overall but just couldn’t turn those second opportunities into points. Kansas State shot 31 percent from the floor, 23 percent from three and 69 percent from the line. The Syracuse zone proved to be a big problem for the Wildcats, who had 13 turnovers and just eight assist.
Henriquez led the way for Kansas State with 14 points and 17 rebounds. By himself, Henriquez out-rebounded Syracuse offensively and proved to be a huge problem for the Orange early on. Junior Rodney McGruder added a team-high 15 points, Will Spradling had 10 and freshman Angel Rodriguez finished with 12 points and four rebounds.