Kansas State was unable to overcome a day of poor shooting and the unexpected loss of Jamar Samuels and lost to No. 1 seed Syracuse 75-59 in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
The Wildcats were expected to have a size advantage with the Orange missing center Fab Melo because of an eligibility issue. But that didn’t turn out to be the case when Samuels was also sidelined with an eligibility concern in the hourse leading to tip-off.
Syracuse, which features a lineup of tall guards and small forwards, used their length to smother K-State with its zone defense. Jordan Henriquez, a 7-foot junior forward, played well and scored 14 points to go along with 17 rebounds, but freshman Thomas Gipson and K-State’s other reserve big men struggled to get going inside. Rodney McGruder scored 15 points.
The Wildcats started off hot and took a 9-2 lead, but fell behind 23-12 midway through the first half. K-State went into the break trailing 25-24 and pulled ahead 30-28 early in the second half.
But the Orange eventually began to pull away behind 18 points from Dion Waiters and 16 points from Scoop Jardine.
With the win, Syracuse will advance to the Sweet 16 in Boston. With the loss, K-State finished its season at 22-11.