The No. 6 Syracuse Orange came into a packed KFC Yum! Center and ended No. 1 Louisville’s eleven game winning streak and extended theirs to seven.
A record crowd of 22,814 watched the two Big East heavy weights trade punches. The Orange delivered the biggest blow with 27 seconds remaining when Louisville guard Peyton Siva drove into three Syracuse players, jumped, and threw a pass across his body that was picked-off. Michael Carter-Williams stole the pass intended for Wayne Blackshear with UofL leading 68-67 and flew down the court for a dunk to give the Orange a 69-68 lead with 23 seconds remaining.
With 13 seconds left, Carter-Williams hit 1 of 2 free throws to extend the lead to a final score of 70-68. Louisville had a chance to win it, but Gorgui Dieng couldn’t handle Siva’s pass around his knees. It was again Carter-Williams who was there to rip the ball away from Dieng. Carter-Williams also added 16 points and 4 steals. His 7 assists were overshadowed by 8 turnovers.
Louisville was led by Russ Smith’s game high 25 points and he was the Cardinals only double digit scorer. Chane Behanan had a game high 11 rebounds to go along with 9 points and 4 steals. Siva ended with only 3 points and was 1-9 from the field. Dieng struggled shooting, but filled up the stat sheet. Dieng had 4 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks. In just 14 minutes, Montrezl Harrell added 8 points and was 4-5 shooting. Luke Hancock would have made Bobby Knight proud because of his volume of shot fakes, even when it appeared he had time to take the shot. However, Hancock connected on both of his 3-point shots and had 7 points.
Brandon Triche did the scoring for the Orange. He finished with 23 points and connected on 5-7 three point attempts. Syracuse had 4 players in double digits. C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant both added 10 points.
Louisville’s downfall was a couple of untimely turnovers and off nights offensively from Siva and Dieng. The Cuse out rebounded UofL 35-31 and connected on 49 percent of field-goal attempts. Louisville shot 40.7 percent. However, the Cards did well in all other categories. They forced 17 Orange turnovers while only coughing it up 9 times themselves. Louisville generated 12 steals and the Cuse stole the ball 5 times. UofL’s 6 blocks gave them a 3 block advantage.
Syracuse now has a case to be considered the new No. 1 in the AP Poll. This week, No. 2 Indiana, No. 8 Gonzaga, No. 9 Minnesota, No. 11 Ohio State, and No. 12 Creighton all lost. Louisville should remain in the Top 6.
The Cards hit the road next week to play Villanova (11-7) and Georgetown (12-4). They will return home on January 28 to host Pittsburgh (15-4).