Louisville (19-6, 8-4) used a 32-6 run to break the game wide open during the latter part of the first half and beginning of the second. Sparked by four 3-pointers in a span of two and a half minutes, the Cardinals went into the locker room at the break up 40-30.
A buzzer-beating triple by senior guard Preston Knowles put an exclamation on the quick run and brought the crowd to their feet. By the end of the run, the Orange were down 51-32.
“It was disappointing, we left too big of a hole for us to get out of,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said during his post-game press conference.
For most of the first half though, the game was back and forth. There was eight lead changes in the first 15 minutes of the game. Scoop Jardine scored a quick 12 points to ignite the Syracuse offense. He played an efficient game, putting 20 points and dishing out four assists.
After the Orange took their biggest lead of the game at 26-19, that’s when the Cardinals responded with their game changing run. Sparked by the hot 3-point shooting of Kyle Kuric – who finished with a game-high of 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting – and Knowles who added 22 points with seven treys of his own.
During the run, Syracuse displayed a lack of urgency on the defensive side of the ball and Louisville took advantage. At one point, the Cardinals scored on 15 consecutive possessions.
“It all starts with ball movement,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. “You can’t get a great shot against Syracuse unless you dribble penetrate.”
As they have done all season, the Orange would respond with a run of their own. However, similar to games against Villanova and at Marquette, it was too little, too late for Syracuse.
“We made a great effort and got our offense going and did some good things on the defensive end, but you can't get that far behind,” Boeheim said.
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