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No. 10 Louisville Outlasts No. 12 Syracuse On The Road

Cuse continues to slide.

Score: No. 10 Louisville 58, No. 12 Syracuse 53

Star(s): Louisville:Russ Smith 18 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast. Syracuse:C.J. Fair 19 Pts, 6 Reb.

Story: The Carrier Dome was rocking yet again, but the Orange continued their late-season slide.

Louisville did a great job playing under control in the first half -- Russ Smith was passing more, sparking the Cardinals' offense. There were also few sightings of a mid-range jump shot from Gorgui Dieng -- his shot is too pretty to not draw up more plays of that kind (he had 7 points and 10 rebounds at the half). There were too many 3-point attempts from Louisville, perhaps, at 13, but the team did an excellent job of rebounding, with 24 in the first half alone. When the teams met earlier in the year, Louisville had 31 for the entire game.

On the Syracuse side, C.J. Fair operated the offense from the high post, dishing it out or taking the shot himself. Other than Fair, Syracuse played poor offensively and the half ended 23-19, Louisville. The teams combined to make only 18-of-62 shots, which was partially due to great defense, partially due to bad shooting -- regardless, it was ugly.

The second half immediately started with better shooting from both sides.

In fact, with eight minutes to go in the half, Syracuse had made 3/3 three's and Louisville had made 3/6. Siva was still not on the boards at this point, at 0-8, and he was benched. Smith and Ware made up for that, though, playing the back-court very well together, both through passing on offense and harassing the Orange's offense on the other end. 

Syracuse didn't let up, and responded to their seven point deficit with a 6-0 run, eventually taking the lead. And before we knew it, it's under two minutes, tied, and Chane Behanan missed two free throws. Deja-vu, anyone?

Then something amazing happened. One time out later, Luke Hancock makes a clutch free throw and Russ Smith hits two free throws, extending the lead to five. Hancock and Ware then force a Syracuse turnover, which is appropriate, since they deserve extreme credit for the way the game went today. A few baskets later, C.J Fair hits the three to make it a three point deficit for the Orange, 56-53. 

Two Russ Smith FT's later, and the Cardinals get the W at the Carrier Dome, making them one game closer to Pitino's goal of winning out. Their next game is Monday at home, against Cincinnati.