No. 6 Syracuse upsets No. 1 Louisville 70-68

  • Assocaited Press
  • Saturday, January 19, 2013 4:48pm
  • SportsSports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Brandon Triche scored 23 points and Michael Carter-Williams scored the final four points as No. 6 Syracuse rallied to upset No. 1 Louisville 70-68 on Saturday in a showdown of unbeaten Big East Conference teams.

It was the second straight Saturday No. 1 went down as Duke lost to then-No. 20 North Carolina State 84-76.

It was the Orange’s third straight win over the Cardinals.

Carter-Williams had 16 points, Jerami Grant and C.J. Fair both had 10 for the Orange (17-1, 5-0) who won their seventh straight.

Russ Smith’s 25 points led Louisville (16-2, 4-1), which had its 11-game winning streak stopped.

Trailing 48-40 4 minutes into the second half, Syracuse’s 12-4 run tied it with 10 minutes remaining. Triche and Carter-Williams combined to score 12 straight points in a 16-10 spurt for a 66-62 lead with 4:37 left.

Smith’s four free throws led Louisville’s 6-0 run for a two-point lead with 1:58 left before Carter-Williams sandwiched two free throws around a steal and dunk for the Orange’s final points.

Louisville’s chance to tie ended with a bad pass inside to Gorgui Dieng in the final seconds, which Syracuse recovered to seal the victory.

Triche finished 9 of 13 from the field including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Syracuse shot 24 of 49 (49 percent) overall and outrebounded Louisville 36-31.

The Orangemen forced just nine turnovers, but the last two were huge and helped Carter-Williams avoid being the goat. His second miss of two free throws with 53.3 seconds left denied Syracuse a chance to tie the game but he followed 30 seconds later with a steal and dunk for the lead.

He added another free throw with 13 seconds left for a two-point lead. Peyton Siva rolled the ball to midcourt and tried to feed Dieng inside, but his pass landed at the center’s feet and Syracuse came up with the loose ball.

The game pitted Syracuse’s trademark 2-3 zone defense against Louisville’s signature pressure, which last year produced two games in which neither team shot above 35 percent in either game.

And while both teams got some results from their defensive strengths, the first half featured impressive offensive performances by both.

Syracuse made seven of its first nine shots and hit 14 of 23 overall (61 percent) thanks to Triche, who made all four 3-point attempts and all seven overall for 18 points by halftime. His accuracy helped put the Orange ahead early and then rally late in the half to forge a 38-all tie.

Louisville meanwhile hit 54 percent (15 of 28) with huge contributions from its bench. Montrezl Harrell was a big factor in the Cardinals outscoring Syracuse’s reserves 15-4, hitting all four of his shots for eight points one game after playing 4 scoreless minutes and being limited by an illness.

Smith led the way for the Cardinals’ starters after a shaky start in which they missed their first three shots against the zone — including two from beyond the arc — before he hit a 3-pointer to bring Louisville within 6-3.

Syracuse quickly raised it to an 11-3 lead with help from Triche’s first two baskets while his teammates added easy inside shots against Louisville’s matchup zone. The Orangemen dominated on the boards as well with a 9-2 lead en route to 15-8 edge through 20 minutes.

Louisville battled back to trail 16-12 thanks to its pressure defense that forced nine steals and nine turnovers in the first 9 minutes. The Cardinals forced 12 in the first half leading to 15 points, a defense that keyed a 27-10 run over 11:14 and providing their biggest lead at 30-21 with 5:56 remaining in the half.

Triche’s eight straight points spurred Syracuse’s 19-8 run to close the half, finishing it by feeding Carter-Williams for a tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Louisville scored the first eight points of the second half before Syracuse responded with a 12-4 run to tie it at 52 with 10 minutes remaining.

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