Again the Syracuse men’s basketball team found itself in a competitive battle that came down to the final minute – and again, it got beat.
Against Louisville last Saturday at the Carrier Dome, with 50 seconds remaining a wide-open Luke Hancock connected on his fourth made 3-pointer from the left wing, and from there the Cardinals went on to beat the Orange 56-53.
Trailing by three after Hancock’s big shot, rather than defer the ball to his teammate for a better shot, a well guarded Michael Carter-Williams forced up a missed game tying 3 that missed.
No. 10 Louisville then hit their last seven out of eight free throws en route to sinking the Orange in front of a stunned crowd of 31,745.
“It's big,”said Hancock, who got all 12 of his points from 3-pointers. “This was like a tournament game. It was that kind of atmosphere. This prepares us well. It definitely gives us confidence going into the end of the season. We want to win out the rest of our games and this was another step.”
SU has stumbled as of late losing three in row and falling to 22-7, 10-6 in the Big East, while Louisville improved to 23-5 (12-4 league) and are still in contention for the league title after winning five straight.
The victory moved the Cardinals into a tie with Marquette (who beat Notre Dame) and it remained only a half-game behind No. 7 Georgetown. A week earlier SU had that same opportunity, but it’s all different now.
Louisville's top threat was Russ Smith, who registered 18 points. Just behind Hancock, Gorgui Dieng finished with his sixth double-double of the season, contributing 11 points and 14 rebounds. The Cardinals overcame a poor offensive performance by point guard Peyton Silva, who was held scoreless (missing all eight 3-pointers), but had four assists and did not turn the ball over once.