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.

“The second half, we made shots. We haven’t done that lately,” Orange Coach Jim Boeheim said. “Our offense was not good in the first half. We had to pick it up on the offensive end. Our defense was very good the first half. We got killed on the boards. … Second half we did a much better job on the boards.”

Scoop Jardine had 16 points and eight assists, Dion Waiters had 18 points and James Southerland added 15 for the Orange (33-2), who didn’t wait until the final minutes to seal the win as they 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. “There was a lot of space on the offensive end. We got open shots, open looks; we knocked ’em down. This is the way I like us to play. Everyone was involved. 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 — their mark for the season — only once, and the stretch included 3-point performances of 1 for 15, 5 for 20 and 3 for 14. Against UNC-Asheville, they shot 44.6 percent overall and 5 for 23 on 3s, and that included making one of their first 13.

“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.”

Syracuse plays Wisconsin in Boston on Thursday night in the regional semifinals.

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.

WISCONSIN 60, VANDERBILT 57: Ryan Evans scored 11 points and grabbed a crucial rebound in the closing seconds, helping Wisconsin win at Albuquerque, N.M.

John Jenkins took a 3-pointer that would have given the Commodores the lead, but it bounced high off the rim and Evans pulled down the rebound and was fouled with 2.1 seconds left.

He made the first free throw to make it a three-point game. After a Vanderbilt timeout, he missed the second and the Commodores called time with 1.3 seconds remaining.

Jared Berggren contested the inbounds pass and got his right hand on Lance Goulbourne’s overhand heave..

SOUTH REGIONAL

KENTUCKY 87, IOWA STATE 71: Freshman Marquis Teague scored a career-high 24 points and top seed Kentucky (34-2) put together another complete performance with a dominating second-half run in beating Iowa State (23-11) at Louisville, Ky.

INDIANA 63, VCU 61: Will Sheehey made a 15-footer from the baseline with 12.7 seconds left after a shot was blocked right to him and No. 4 seed Indiana (27-8) rallied to beat VCU (29-7) at Portland, Ore.