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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse waited too long to turn up the intensity against Louisville, and the second-ranked Orange paid for the lapse.
Samardo Samuels scored all eight of his points during a late surge and Jerry Smith sank a pair of clutch free throws with 17.8 seconds left as Louisville rallied past Syracuse 66-60 on Sunday.
The Cardinals (16-9, 7-5 Big East), who trailed by 11 in the first half, hung on to win despite missing five of seven free throws in the final 1:41, including a pair by Smith just 2 seconds after the two he converted.
“We did a very good job of moving the basketball, taking smart shots, and playing good defense down the stretch,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “I thought our guys really played a very intelligent game, didn’t get down when they missed their free throws and let it affect their defense.”
It was the fifth straight win over the Orange for Louisville, which was 0-4 against ranked teams entering the game and in desperate need of a signature victory to enhance its NCAA tournament chances.
A glance at the box score showed one big reason the Orange’s 11-game winning streak came to an end: leading scorer Wes Johnson, nursing a bruised thumb on his right (shooting) hand, was 5 of 20 from the floor and had a pair of shots blocked in the final minute.
“I’m just missing shots,” said Johnson, who took a hard fall in a win over Providence two weeks ago. “It ain’t anything mentally or physically. My body is still not 100 percent, but I wouldn’t really blame it on that. The shots that I did take, I really just missed them.”
Rutgers 71, No. 7 Georgetown 68
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Jonathan Mitchell scored a career-high 24 points, including the clinching free throws with 4.1 seconds to play, and Rutgers upset No. 7 Georgetown, the Scarlet Knights’ first win over a top 10 team in seven years.
The Hoyas took a 66-65 lead on Greg Monroe’s up-and-under move with 52 seconds to play. Dane Miller, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, had a tip-in with 21 seconds left to get the Scarlet Knights the lead back, and made two free throws with 10.1 seconds left.
No. 13 Ohio State 72, Illinois 53
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Jon Diebler scored 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers, to lead Ohio State over Illinois. Evan Turner came within two assists of a triple double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
E. Washington 69, Montana 68
CHENEY — Eastern Washington University converted 12 of 19 3-pointers. Freshmen Glen Dean finished with 23 points and seven assists, and made a free throw with 2.5 seconds left to provide the final margin.