INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Jim Boeheim, Syracuse’s zone defense coach for a decade, had success again Friday night.

Nathan Mensah #31 of the San Diego State Aztecs shoots over Jesse Edwards #14 of the Syracuse Orange during the second half of the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament first round game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on the 19th. March 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country.

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The 11th-ranked Orange kept San Diego from scoring for almost a quarter of the game, thanks to Buddy Boeheim, who hit seven 3-pointers and scored 30 points. Syracuse won 78-62 in Hinkle Fieldhouse to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Boeheim hit 7 of 10 shots from long range and 11 of 15 from the field, Marek Dolezaj added 11 points. Syracuse (17-9) will play against third-seeded West Virginia or 14th-seeded Morehead State for a spot in the top 16.

The Orange trailed 18-14 midway through the first half, but held firm defensively and held San Diego State (23-5) scoreless the rest of the half. And when the Aztecs threatened to cut the deficit to less than 10 points early in the second half, the son of Syracuse’s longtime coach had to fight back.

Boeheim hit three three-pointers, including one after a layup, putting the game out of reach.

Jordan Shackel scored 17 points for the Aztecs, but the third-best 3-point shooter in the country made just 5 of 13 shots. Leading scorer Matt Mitchell also scored 17 points for the Mountain West champions, shooting 8-of-19.

Once San Diego State made it clear they were going to make three three-pointers during their first few drives down the court, the plan was to break Syracuse’s 2-3 zone by shooting over the top.

The problem is that the Aztecs didn’t do much.

The Aztecs started with a 3-pointer by Boeheim at the 9:17 mark, but then failed to score in the first half. They missed their final 10 shot attempts from beyond the arc, made just 3-of-20 from the 3-point line in the first half, and even missed the front end of a one-and-one with seconds left in the half.

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Boeheim almost single-handedly defeated San Diego State. He scored 16 points and Syracuse won 32-18 at halftime. That was the fewest points Aztec perimeter coach Brian Dutcher has scored in a half since the start of the season.

Mitchell, the Mountain West Player of the Year, missed all five of his three-point attempts and made just 1-of-9 shots.

Shackel finally hit a 3-pointer just after halftime, giving the few San Diego State fans in the audience a welcome reason to cheer. Buddy Bucks and the rest of the Syracuse shooters continued to hit 3-point baskets and built a 56-30 lead before the clock ran out.

BIG PHOTO

Syracuse continued the momentum from last season on Friday night. The Orange have won three of their last four games, beating North Carolina and Clemson and defeating Virginia in the ACC Tournament.

San Diego State was hoping for a big win after a 30-2 victory last season and missing out on a trip to the tournament. But the Aztecs don’t look like the team that won 14 consecutive games in Indianapolis. They won by an average margin of 18.4 points, failed to penetrate Syracuse’s zone and stalled defensively.

NEXT HOUR

On Sunday, the Dutch will play either the Mountaineers or the Eagles. Syracuse is 28-16 against former Big East rival West Virginia and 3-0 against Morehead State with a win over the Eagles in the first round of the 1983 tournament.

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