After almost collapsing for the second game in a row against Clemson, the #18 Louisville Cardinals looked to right the ship as they faced longtime rival Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
The Cards didn’t let a big lead get away this game, because they never had a lead in the first place as they were dominated by the Orange 69-49.
Syracuse found themselves in the top 15 in the opening weeks of the season, but quickly fell out of the rankings as they struggled in the following months. The Orange and their dreaded zone always remain a danger, however, and the team did manage to be one of the only two teams to beat Duke so far this season.
Louisville was looking stay in the mix for a possible double-bye in the ACC tournament.
The teams stayed close for the first ten minutes or so of the game, until Louisville suddenly couldn’t buy a bucket and Syracuse took advantage, going on a 19-5 run to get up to a 16-point lead with under three minutes to go.
The Cards managed to cut the deficit down a little before heading into halftime down 35-23.
Louisville only managed to shoot 6-26 from field goal range for the half, and only hit one of 13 three-pointers. They also turned the ball over seven times in the first 20 minutes, which the Orange turned into nine points.
The Cards opened the second half with four straight points to cut the deficit down to single digits, but Syracuse promptly went on a 12-1 run to get their lead back up to 19 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
Louisville made a shot here or there, but couldn’t get any run together and respond to all the Orange scoring.
The Orange got the lead up to 24 with just over a minute to go, but the Cards hit some late threes to get the deficit down to 20 before the clock ran out.
Louisville finished shooting just under 26 percent of their field goals, and made six of their 28 threes.
They got outrebounded 39-36. And Syracuse scored 16 points of the Cards’ 13 turnovers.
Jordan Nwora led the team with 11 points, the only Louisville player in double-figures.
Dwayne Sutton led the Cards in rebounds, grabbing eight boards.
Louisville falls to 18-9 for the season (9-5 ACC). Syracuse moves to 18-8 (9-4 ACC).
It doesn’t get any easier for the Cards head back home to face #3 Virginia on February 23.<