Saturday, January 19, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Syracuse 70, Louisville 68
By Jason King
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A few quick thoughts from Syracuse's 70-68 victory over Louisville on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.
Overview: Louisville entered Saturday's game against Syracuse touting a No. 1 national ranking. Now the Cardinals aren't even the top team in their conference.
Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams overcame a dreadful first half to catapult the Orange to the top of the Big East standings. The sophomore came up with two huge steals and a mammoth defensive rebound -- all in the final 29 seconds -- to alter the course of the game.
With Syracuse trailing 68-67, Carter-Williams stepped in front of a pass from Louisville's Peyton Siva and raced down the court for a powerful slam dunk over a defender that gave the Orange a 69-68 lead with 25 seconds left.
Wayne Blackshear missed a layup on Louisville's next possession, and Carter-Williams fought off a slew of bigger defenders for the rebound. He was fouled and made one of two free throws to give his squad a 70-68 lead with 13 seconds remaining.
Carter-Williams put the exclamation point on his performance by stealing the ball from Cardinals center Gorgui Dieng in the paint on Louisville's final possession. He fired the ball upcourt as time expired. MCW accounted for SU's final 13 points, scoring 11 of them and assisting on the other two.
The sold-out arena fell silent as Carter-Williams -- who had six first-half turnovers (career-high eight overall) -- celebrated with his teammates on the court. It was the Orange's third straight victory over the Cardinals, the first time they've done that in series history.
No. 6 Syracuse is now 17-1 overall and 5-0 in the Big East after beating a No. 1 team for the first time since 2006. Louisville is 16-2 and 4-1 and sure to lose its No. 1 ranking.
Player(s) of the game:Brandon Triche had 23 points, and Carter-Williams added 16, along with 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Russ Smith had 25 points in a losing effort for Louisville.
Key stat: Louisville shot 29 percent in the second half. Not good enough.
Miscellaneous: According to ESPN Stats & Info, this is the first time the No. 1 team has lost three times before Jan. 20 since the 2006-07 season. ... Louisville became the first No. 1 team to lose at home since Feb. 16, 2009 (Pittsburgh won at Connecticut).
Up next: Syracuse hosts Cincinnati on Monday afternoon (3:30 ET, ESPN). Louisville plays at Villanova the following night.