A quick take on Syracuse’s 70-69 road win against Louisville on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: After El Ellis made two free throws to pull Louisville to within 70-69 with 8 seconds left, Judah Mintz took the inbounds and fell dribbling up court and lost the ball to Ellis. But Ellis in turn lost the ball as time ran out, summing up a sloppy night in which the Orange eked out an ugly win. There were 10 lead changes, many of them occurring in the waning moments of the game. But Syracuse took the lead for good with 49 seconds left off two Judah Mintz free throws, and two more Joe Girard free throws with 17 seconds to go provided the final cushion.
ANALYSIS: The final sequences was a microcosm of the game, with Syracuse turning the ball 15 times, and Louisville coughing up the ball 21 times. Aside from taking care of the ball, Syracuse struggled to rebound, giving up 15 offensive rebounds, and also allowed the Cardinals to shoot 11-27 from downtown (they had come in shooting just 31 percent). Syracuse leaned heavily on its ‘Big 3’ as Girard, Mintz and Jesse Edwards combined for 56 points. Anyone not named them only had 14. The Orange winning avoided an embarrassing loss to a Louisville team that had come in 2-12 and with double-digit losses to every high-major team it’s played this season.
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HERO: Girard shot 4-8 from 3-point land and 10-11 from the free throw line for a game-high 28 points to go with seven rebounds. He did, however, turn the ball over 5 times. Mintz (16 points) and Edwards (12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks) also starred.
ZERO: Coming off one of his best games of the season against Boston College, Benny Williams struggled through a 0-3 shooting night for 3 points and just 3 rebounds. Syracuse also only got 3 points from its bench (all from Justin Taylor).
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays on the road, and travels to No. 11 Virginia to play the Cavaliers on Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. TV: ACCN.
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