No. 8 Louisville outlasts Syracuse in overtime, 76-72

The Orange (16-11, 8-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) took a 63-61 lead on two free throws by Andrew White, but Louisville scored the next 10 points to take control and hold on. In fact the Orange had the ball with a shot to win, but lost it out of bounds.

The Cardinals (20-5, 8-4 ACC) put together a critical 13-0 second-half run against Miami to secure their eighth victory in the last 10 games, after overcoming a 14-point first-half deficit. Andrew White, a stalwart during SU's ACC resurgence, was terrible, shooting just 2-14 from downtown, part of an 8-34 effort overall from beyond the arc. His struggles though reflected much of Syracuse's problem throughout the game. Devon Thomas converted a tying three-point play with 7:09 left, his only points of the game coming after he was originally whistled for charging while making a layup before officials reviewed the play. Much of the Cardinals' offense was based on their offensive rebounding, leading to putbacks and free throw attempts.

Ryan McMahon and Anas Mahmoud had huge overtimes for the University of Louisville on Monday night.

Coach Rick Pitino's U of L team enters the contest ranked ninth nationally in field goal defense (.386), ninth in blocked shots per game (5.8), third in 3-point field goal defense (.287), and 14th in scoring margin (plus 14.4). The Cardinals (20-5/8-4) are just a game out of The ACC lead with 6 regular season games left, this is a huge opportunity to not only stay in the race for the regular season title but also for a top four finish, which would give U of L a double-bye into the conference's post-season tournament quarterfinals.

Syracuse has almost a week off before hitting the road for a Sunday matchup with Georgia Tech. The loss to the Cardinals makes the game against the Yellow Jackets even more important in relation to Syracuse's tournament hopes. The Orange will have to win at least three of their final four games to avoid finishing with 14 losses. Georgia Tech has wins over UNC, Florida State and Notre Dame. Louisville and Syracuse will play for the second time in 13 days on February 26. The road to meaningful March basketball certainly appears rocky for the Orange.

  • Joanne Flowers