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Originally published March 17, 2012 at 7:59 PM | Page modified March 17, 2012 at 8:47 PM

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Top-seeded Syracuse returns to form, ousts Kansas State

In the second half Saturday, the top-seeded Orange looked like that group and maybe even better, pulling away to a 75-59 victory over eighth-seeded Kansas State in the third round of the East Regional.

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PITTSBURGH — It had been a while since Syracuse played like the team that spent all season ranked in the top five.

In the second half Saturday, the top-seeded Orange looked like that group and maybe even better, pulling away to a 75-59 victory over eighth-seeded Kansas State in the third round of the East Regional.

Scoop Jardine had 16 points and eight assists, Dion Waiters had 18 points and James Southerland added 15 for the Orange (33-2), which didn't wait until the final minutes to seal the win as it did in the second round against 16th-seeded North Carolina-Asheville.

"I think we picked it up on both ends of the floor. Especially on the defensive end, we got what we wanted. We were able to get transition baskets," said Kris Joseph, who had 11 points. "The scoring balance — it was really balanced tonight. That's how we're supposed to play."

They hadn't looked that way lately, even in their wins.

Syracuse scored fewer than 70 points — it averages 74.5 — in five of the last seven games. The Orange shot better than 46.5 percent from the field — its mark for the season — only once, and the stretch included three-point performances of 1 for 15, 5 for 20 and 3 for 14. Against UNC-Asheville, it shot 44.6 percent overall.

"We won. We won the game. It don't matter," Jardine said. "It don't matter if we played good or bad. We won and advanced."

Rodney McGruder had 15 points for the Wildcats (22-11), who struggled from the field against Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense.

Neither team had its leading rebounder. Syracuse's 7-foot Fab Melo, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, was declared ineligible by the school for the rest of the tournament earlier in the week. About 20 minutes before the start of this game, Kansas State announced that Jamar Samuels would be held out over an eligibility issue.

"It was tough playing without him, especially one of our seniors. He's one of the main leaders of the team," McGruder said. "It was just tough, you know. It's tough that he would never get to play another game in a Kansas State uniform. He missed his last game."

No. 4 Wisconsin 60, No. 5 Vanderbilt 57

In Albuquerque, N.M., the Badgers held the Southeastern Conference's two leading scorers in check, and Ryan Evans grabbed a crucial rebound with 2.1 seconds left to help Wisconsin fend off Vanderbilt.

The Badgers held John Jenkins (20.1) and Jeffery Taylor (16.3) to 13 and 9 points, respectively in advancing to face top-seeded Syracuse in the East Regional in Boston.

Jenkins got just one good look at the basket all night, and it came on a wide-open three-pointer in the final seconds. With the Commodores (25-11) trailing 59-57, Jenkins created some space between him and Jarred Berggren, but like so many of his other shots on this night, it was long.

"That was as wide open a shot as we gave up the whole game," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "It just didn't happen to go down."

Evans grabbed the rebound among a mash pit of bodies pushing and shoving underneath the basket, corralling the ball and drawing the foul with 2.1 seconds left.

"It was a pretty good look," Jenkins said. "It just didn't drop for me."

The fourth-seeded Badgers (26-9) were led by Jordan Taylor's 14 points.


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