MBB : Last time they played: Syracuse 52, Louisville 51

first_img Published on March 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm For Jim Boeheim, Syracuse’s game against Louisville ended in a fitting way.In the final 2:11, neither team recorded a single point. During that span, Dion Waiters had a layup blocked, he missed an open jumper and missed a free throw on the front end of a one-and-one.Louisville couldn’t connect with a bucket, either. The Cardinals turned the ball over twice, missed a reverse layup and fumbled a last-ditch effort from half court at the buzzer.‘It probably should have ended that way,’ the SU head coach said after the game Feb. 13, ‘because it was really a defensive struggle the whole game.’Syracuse emerged from the conference battle to escape from the KFC Yum! Center with a 52-51 victory over Louisville. With the one-point win, SU snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Cardinals dating back to Feb. 18, 2006. Both teams struggled mightily on offense and finished the game shooting less than 35 percent.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It was just a struggle for both teams offensively, and you can either give the defenses credit or say it was a bad offensive game,’ Boeheim said. ‘We’re going to look on the bright side and say it was a real defensive struggle tonight.’The Orange struggled early on, failing to reach the 10-point plateau until Kris Joseph hit a jumper with 8:24 left to play in the first half. But Louisville was equally inept on offense, and Joseph’s bucket cut SU’s deficit to 13-11.Brandon Triche said Syracuse’s offensive inefficiency was largely a result of its inability to crack the Cardinals’ matchup zone with its pick-and-roll sets. Louisville’s defense stifled the Orange and UL went into halftime with a 24-22 lead.‘The pick-and-roll, we usually use that a lot against man-to-man, but it wasn’t working against the zone,’ the junior guard said. ‘We could have just penetrated by ourselves and found guys open and penetrated again once they were flying at us. But we didn’t do that. We could have fixed that, but we didn’t.’Each team endured more tough stretches after the break. After SU took a 36-35 lead with less than 14 minutes remaining in the second half, both teams went scoreless for three minutes.The Orange picked up some momentum with a 6-0 run capped by a C.J. Fair slam, but Louisville countered with its own 16-4 run to take a five-point lead with less than four minutes to go.‘They went on their run,’ Joseph said. ‘They were at home. You got to expect it. They hadn’t made it yet.’And in a game marked by offensive struggles, it seemed the Cardinals had dealt the Orange a knockout blow with that late scoring burst.But Louisville failed to score over the final 3:38, and Fair put SU out in front for good with an uncontested layup with 2:11 to go. Syracuse made the necessary stops down the stretch to protect its lead and close out the victory.‘We knew we needed stops,’ Triche said. ‘We just planned on trying to get one stop at a time. … We missed some shots, so it wasn’t like we just got hot. We just made sure we stopped those guys from scoring.’—Compiled by Andrew Tredinnick, asst. copy editor, [email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more