LOUISVILLE – With four crucial points in the last minute of play, sophomore Michael Carter-Williams led the #6/6 Orange (17-1, 5-0) to a 70-68 buzzer- beating victory against #1/1 Louisville(16-2, 4-1) in the KFC YUM! Center on Saturday evening.
Trailing by one at 68-67 with a little more than a minute remaining in the game, Carter-Williams connected on a dunk to lift SU ahead by one point at 69-68. Following the slam, Carter-Williams converted on one of two free throws to increase the advantage to 70-68 with 13 seconds left to play.
Despite a final scoring attempt from the Cardinals, Carter-Williams stole the ball back and drove toward the basket as time expired, securing the first win against a top-ranked team since 2006, when SU defeated Connecticut 86-84 in overtime in the BIG EAST Tournament.
The Orange triumph extends the current Syracuse winning streak to seven straight games and snaps Louisville's 11-game stretch, as SU has now won the last three consecutive matchups between the two teams.
Senior Brandon Triche led the Orange offense with a team-high 23 points after a perfect first half, where he shot seven-of-seven from the field and four-of-four from behind the three-point arc, tallying 18 points.
Syracuse opened the contest on a solid 6-0 run, sparked by an early slam from sophomore Rakeem Christmas. Maintaining momentum, Triche connected on a three -pointer to stretch the Orange advantage to eight points at 11-3 with 16:16 remaining in the opening frame.
That lead quickly faded as Louisville stormed back, using two straight threes to go up by one at 19-18. As the Orange struggled to break the pressure, the Cardinals pulled ahead with a seven-point lead at 26-19.
Fighting back, SU trimmed the Louisville lead to three at 38-35 before Carter-Williams drained a three ball in the final seconds of the half, tying the score at 38-38 heading into the intermission.
Following the break, Syracuse found itself down by eight at 48-40, before layups from juniors Baye Moussa-Keita and C.J. Fair and freshman Jerami Grant all helped to erase the deficit to three points at 49-46.
Still chasing, Fair converted on both free throws to put the Orange just two point away from reclaiming the lead at 52-50, before Grant banked in a bucket to tie the score at 52-52.
Seizing the opportunity to take control, Carter-Williams came through with another three to give the Orange a two-point advantage as SU used a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the second half at 66-62. Four quick points from Louisville's Chane Behanan and Russ Smith, the Cardinal's top scorer, put the Cardinals back on top, before Carter-Williams came through to bring the Orange ahead for the win in the final minute of play.
Syracuse is back in action on Monday, hosting #21/20 Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.