Louisville vs Syracuse

No. 9 Louisville stays hot, knocks off No. 8 Syracuse

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Louisville is still waiting for a Big East challenge it can't handle.

Not even 25,721 screaming Syracuse fans or Eric Devendorf's clutch 3-pointer could derail the Cardinals on Sunday. Earl Clark silenced the raucous Carrier Dome crowd with a 3 from right wing with 2:06 remaining and No. 9 Louisville held off No.8 Syracuse 67-57 to remain unbeaten in the conference.

"We just had to dig down and play great defense," said Clark, who finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. "They have five guys who average double figures. When Devendorf hit the big shot, we didn't hang our heads. We came together as a team."

It was the seventh straight win for Louisville (15-3, 6-0 Big East), which handed Pittsburgh its first loss of the season, 69-63, eight days ago. Syracuse (17-4, 5-3) lost its second straight -- the Orange fell 78-60 at No. 4 Pitt on Monday -- since a 93-74 home win over Notre Dame.

"The 3 was the key play of the game," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after a lengthy postgame locker room talk to his team. "Neither team was making anything. It came down to that play."

And several others.

After Devendorf's shot gave Syracuse a 55-54 lead with 2:55 left, Clark put the Cardinals ahead to stay as the Orange misfired repeatedly. Syracuse, averaging 80.4 points a game, had only two field goals in the last seven minutes in being held to a season-low in points.

"When we got down, we didn't panic. We're a veteran team," Terrence Williams said. "We've been in that position before. We just had to go from there, come down, and be patient on offense."

Williams had 15 points and nine rebounds and Edgar Sosa finished with 13 points for Louisville.

Devendorf led the Orange with 20 points, Jonny Flynn had 12 points, and Arinze Onuaku had 11 points and nine rebounds. Paul Harris had his second straight subpar game, finishing with just six points on 2-of-7 shooting. He was averaging 13.6 points.

Andy Rautins, the Orange's top outside threat, twisted his right ankle in front of the Syracuse bench and limped off the court with 7:17 left in the game and the Orange trailing 54-48. He did not return, finishing with just three points.

Clark followed his critical 3 with two free throws and Williams hit a jumper from left wing as the shot clock was about to expire to boost the lead to 61-55 with 50 seconds left. Sosa and Samardo Samuels each sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds to secure the triumph.

"This was real important," said Clark, who committed seven of Louisville's 10 turnovers. "Everybody was telling us how tough it is to play in here. When we walked in and saw how many people there were, it was just great. It's great to get a win anyplace."

Syracuse entered the game leading the Big East in shooting at 50 percent and had little trouble coping with the Louisville press. But the Orange finished 18-for-51 (35.3 percent) from the floor, their lowest shooting percentage of the year, including a woeful 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) in the second half.

The Orange also never got its uptempo attack going consistently and scored just 13 fast-break points as the Cardinals won the battle on the offensive glass 21-13.

"We felt that was a major key to keep them off the break," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "The key is not getting back and talking. The key is getting second shots."

Still, Syracuse had plenty of opportunities to score in the final two minutes, but with 6-foot-9 Terrence Jennings helping clog the lane, Flynn missed three times on drives to the basket and Devendorf misfired once.

"When you're down, you have to try to force things," said Flynn, who is 6-for-26 from the floor in the past two games. "You can't let the game come to you. It was a little bit of everything today."

Louisville led 38-33 at halftime, and the lead could have been greater. The Cardinals, who missed four shots in a final flurry under the basket right before the buzzer, scored only six second-chance points in the period despite outrebounding Syracuse 14-7 on the offensive glass and 25-14 overall.

"You realize you're going to be in so many close games, so you just say, 'OK, here we go again,"' Pitino said. "We understand."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
Rick Pitino celebrates taking the lead in the final minutes as Louisville goes to 6-0 in the Big East.  (AP)
Rick Pitino celebrates taking the lead in the final minutes as Louisville goes to 6-0 in the Big East. (AP)
Scoreboard
Louisville #9 (15-3) «382967
Syracuse #8 (17-4)332457
LOU:Earl Clark 16 Pts
LOU:Earl Clark 13 Reb
LOU:Earl Clark 5 Ast
SYR:E. Devendorf 20 Pts
SYR:A. Onuaku 9 Reb
SYR:J. Flynn 4 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
SyracuseLouisville
SYR
E. Devendorf
LOU
E. Clark
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
202316135
Louisville Cardinals
T. Williams, F407-140-093215
E. Clark, G-F396-172-3135316
E. Sosa, G294-112-233413
S. Samuels, F222-62-23246
J. Smith, G212-80-04015
P. Knowles, G181-50-00103
T. Jennings, F184-61-45129
A. McGee, G110-10-02320
W. Scott, G10-10-00000
J. Swopshire, F10-00-00000
R. Delk, GDid Not Play
L. Steiden, FDid Not Play
G. Goode, FDid Not Play
K. Kuric, GDid Not Play
Totals 26-697-1139181867
 37.7%63.6% 
Syracuse Orange
J. Flynn, G403-126-624112
A. Onuaku, F325-61-390211
P. Harris, F312-72-28126
A. Rautins, G281-70-04213
R. Jackson, F171-41-29103
E. Devendorf, G365-137-923420
K. Joseph, F161-20-21022
J. Presutti, GDid Not Play
W. Johnson, FDid Not Play
J. Thomas, GDid Not Play
K. Ongenaet, FDid Not Play
S. Williams, CDid Not Play
S. Jardine, GDid Not Play
M. Jones, FDid Not Play
K. Drew, GDid Not Play
B. Reese, GDid Not Play
Totals 18-5117-2435111257
 35.3%70.8% 
Conference USA
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Middle Tenn.17-131-535
La. Tech14-423-10117
Old Dominion12-619-12136
UTEP12-615-17222
Rice11-723-12168
Marshall10-820-15112
UAB9-917-16198
Western Ky.9-915-17226
UT-San Antonio8-1014-19264
Charlotte7-1113-17243
FAU6-1210-20282
So. Miss6-129-22331
FIU3-157-24337
North Texas2-168-22339

Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Villanova15-332-41
Butler12-625-915
Creighton10-825-1026
Seton Hall10-821-1244
Providence10-820-1356
Marquette10-819-1361
Xavier9-924-1437
St. Johns7-1114-19140
Georgetown5-1314-18107
DePaul2-169-23236
 
Other games
Minn 67 Final
Indiana 63
Florida 94 Final
VANDY 69
GTOWN 60 Final
SETON 65
Mich St 78 Final
Ohio St 67
PITT 79 Final
W Virg 67
GT 59 Final
CLEM 73