The mistakes came with astonishing, alarming regularity. Passes sailed into the photographers' row at the First Niagara Center. Swarming Syracuse hands tapped balls into the hands of eager, awaiting teammates. Sometimes, all a Syracuse player needed to do was wait until a Western Michigan player directed a pass his way.

The Broncos, a team that turned the ball over 14 times per game this season, had committed 11 such infractions by halftime in Thursday's second-round NCAA tournament game here. Those multiplying mistakes, generated by moving Syracuse arms and legs, translated to 13 Orange first-half points off turnovers and allowed SU to cruise to a 40-29 advantage by intermission.

"I feel like we've been slacking defensively a little bit," SU forward Jerami Grant said, "so we wanted to come out and be active at the bottom of the zone and the top of the zone. We did that tonight and we forced them to make turnovers."

The Orange eliminated the Broncos 77-53 and will meet Dayton on Saturday with a chance to advance to the Sweet 16. Syracuse squeezed the MAC champion Broncos, forcing a total of 16 turnovers, holding WMU to 35 percent shooting overall and a 22 percent showing from the 3-point line.

Syracuse discouraged WMU's two best players,limiting center Shayne Whittington and guard David Brown to a total of 20 points on 6-of-19 shooting. The Broncos duo averages a combined 36 points per game.

"Tonight we came out playing pressure defense and we wasn't letting them get comfortable," SU forward C.J. Fair said. "We was quick on all our defensive rotations and that kind of hurt them. Tyler and Trevor did a good job anticipating a couple passes, got us going in the first half."

"We worked real hard this week defensively in practice," SU coach Jim Boeheim said. "We had a lot of tape on them playing against the zone. So we had a real good idea what we were going to do."

What the Broncos wanted to do was get Whittington and Brown the ball with room to operate.

Whittington, the skilled 6-foot-11 center, attempted just seven shots in Thursday's game and made four of them. SU's big men surrounded him, denying him the ball on the low blocks and making the Orange guards aware of his presence at the high post. The guards, too, stuck their arms and hands in front of Whittington whenever he ventured to that spot.

Whitttington blamed himself for his lack of touches. He needed, he said, to assert himself better in the post, to make himself a better target for teammates. But SU, too, swallowed him up on the interior, making that a difficult option.

"We're not really used to seeing that long of a front line in the MAC, but it shouldn't have affected us at all," Whittington said. "I was a little hesitant in the first half. I wasn't being aggressive and that's what attested to a lot of our turnovers and a lot of our problems."