EditorsNote: revises headline
Needing a quality win to boost its slender NCAA Tournament at-large resume, Syracuse got it Monday night when the starting backcourt of Frank Howard and Tyus Battle combined for 47 points in a 78-73 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over Louisville at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
Battle pumped in a game-high 25 points for the Orange (16-8, 5-6 ACC), including a pull-up jumper with 2:38 left for a 71-65 advantage. Howard scored 22 and forward Oshae Brissett added 16 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 left.
Syracuse sank 47.2 percent of its field-goal attempts in a bounce-back outing after managing only 44 points Saturday in its home loss to No. 2 Virginia.
Ray Spalding paced the Cardinals (16-8, 6-5) with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Deng Adel and Anas Mahmoud tallied 10 apiece.
Louisville trailed the entire second half, the largest deficit being 12 when Battle canned two free throws with 7:36 left for a 65-53 Orange margin. But the Cardinals worked their way back into contention by punching the ball inside during a 12-2 burst, as Spalding’s foul shots with 4:05 remaining drew them within 67-65.
However, Syracuse steadied itself down the stretch. Marek Dolezaj came up with perhaps the game’s biggest play, tipping in Battle’s missed shot with 54.7 seconds left to make it 73-67.
Jordan Nwora sank a 3-pointer with 26.7 ticks on the clock to draw Louisville within three, but Howard tacked on a free throw with 24.7 seconds left and then stole the ball from Adel to seal the outcome.
Louisville led for most of the first 12 minutes, taking a 13-7 lead at the 13:57 mark as Mahmoud converted a three-point play. However, the Orange gradually reeled the Cardinals in, taking the lead at 22-21 with 8:33 remaining when Brissett drained two foul shots.
Syracuse expanded the margin as high as 39-29 at the 2:27 mark when Battle turned a turnover by Adel into a jumper. However, Louisville closed within 39-33 at halftime when Darius Perry drilled a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left.
—Field Level Media