In a matchup of two desperate teams Wednesday night, the good one showed their true colors.
Coming off a pair of losses last week, #11 Louisville blasted Syracuse in the second half by a 49-32 margin en route to a 90-66 home victory. The Cardinals (22-5, 13-3 ACC) closed a decisive 22-4 run with 13 straight points to send the Orange (14-12, 7-8) to their third straight loss and fifth in six games.
Louisville owned the second half, shooting 51.6 percent from the field while holding SU to a 33.3 percent mark. The Cards also had a 26-18 rebounding advantage after halftime. The hosts committed just 10 turnovers in the game to Syracuse’s 13 and made ten three-pointers, seven in the first half.
Louisville got the first of those triples 24 seconds into the game and never trailed. The Orange stayed within five points in the opening minutes, but the Cardinals hung nine of 12 points to take a 17-8 lead by the time the game was six-and-a-half minutes old.
SU chipped away at the margin, getting within a half dozen on the second of two Quincy Guerrier scores inside and then within 22-17 when Joe Girard III rattled home a lay-up just before the midpoint of the opening half.
The Cardinals blew the game open with a 10-2 run, holding Syracuse to a single basket over a span of nearly six minutes. Girard broke the streak with a stepback three, then fed Buddy Boeheim for a pull-up three in transition. The hosts got a foul shot, but Guerrier answered with by curling a lay-up into the hoop. The 8-1 Orange run cut the margin to 33-27 with three-and-a-half minutes left in the first half.
SU would get back-to-back successful trips to reduce the Louisville lead to four in the final minute before the break, but the Cards’ Ryan McMahon buried his fourth three of the opening half to grab a 41-34 lead at intermission.
The two squads played evenly for the first three-and-a-half minutes after returning to the floor, but Louisville took command after that, finishing a 22-4 run with 13 straight points. When the barrage ended, the Cardinals had a 69-44 stranglehold on the game with under ten minutes to play.
Syracuse scored on their next two trips to pull within 20, but shortly after, seven straight Louisville markers expanded the margin to 29 points with over six minutes remaining, the greatest lead of the night. The Orange could get no closer than 23 points the rest of the way.
Coming off a scoreless effort in his last game, Buddy Boeheim paced the Orange with 15 points, 11 coming in the first half. Quincy Guerrier had his fourth straight double-figure scoring game, finishing with 14 points and a career-high dozen rebounds for his third double-double. Joe Girard III had 12 points and Elijah Hughes ten, but the duo combined to make just 7-of-27 shots from the field.
Five different Cardinals reached double figures, led by Jordan Nwora, who had a game-high 17 points. Dwayne Sutton was right on his heels with 16 points while Malik Williams hung a 14-point, 13-board double-double. Ryan McMahon hit four threes in the first half as he had 13 points and Steven Enoch chipped in with ten points.
SU returns to the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome on Saturday to complete their season series with Georgia Tech. The Orange routed the Yellow Jackets (13-13, 7-8) in Atlanta in December, 97-63. Elijah Hughes was electric in the game, pouring in 33 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, including a half dozen threes. Buddy Boeheim matched Hughes’ six triples as he poured in 26 points.
The Yellow Jackets claimed their second straight win Wednesday night, an 86-79 victory over Wake Forest, and have won five of seven overall. Leading scorer Michael Devoe , who averages 16.3 points and has made 43 triples on the campaign, had 24 points in the win over the Demon Deacons. He had just seven points in the first Syracuse-Georgia Tech matchup, shooting 2-for-12 from the field.
Moses Wright paced GT in their first contest against the Orange with 17 points. The Yellow Jackets were without point guard Jose Alvarado in that game due to injury. Scoring 18 points or more in seven of his last 12 games, the junior point guard averages 14.0 points and leads the team with 4.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Saturday’s contest will tip off at 4:00pm Eastern and the game will be broadcast on regional sports networks.