Michael Carter-Williams responded to missing a game-tying free throw quite nicely, as he got a steal off of an errant Peyton Siva pass and went the other way, dunking on Gorgui Dieng to put the Orange up 69-68 with 25 seconds left.
Wayne Blackshear would get his shot blocked at the rim on the next possession, and after Carter-Williams once again hit just one-of-two free throws, Siva again threw the ball away trying to hit Dieng under the rim, and the Orange hung on, beating the No. 1 team in the country on the road, 70-68.
Brandon Triche was the best player on the floor for much of the game for the Orange, scoring 23 points and hitting five threes as he kept Syracuse within striking distance during a stretch early in the first half where it seemed like the Orange were more comfortable throwing the ball to Louisville than to their own team.
Carter-Williams was the main culprit. While he finished with 16 points, seven assists, four steals and the game-winning play, he was one of the biggest reasons that Syracuse was in that position late down the stretch; 4-13 shooting and eight turnovers for your starting point guard is a good way to dig a hole. But towards the end of the second half, all that changed. The Orange stopped turning the ball over. They had 13 turnovers in the first 24 minutes of the game. They had two in the last 16 minutes, outscoring Louisville 30-20 during that stretch. Limiting turnovers stopped Louisville from getting out in transition, which forced the Cardinals to try and beat the Syracuse zone in the half court.
Louisville couldn’t do that.
And Syracuse got the win.
Perhaps the most impressive part about this win was the Syracuse was able to do it without James Southerland on the floor. Southerland, Jim Boeheim’s second-leading scorer and best three-point shooter, is out indefinitely as a result of an academic issue and it’s unclear when he will be back in the lineup. This win is an indication that not having Southerland at their disposal is not as big of an issue as we might have anticipated.
The win vaults Syracuse to 5-0 in the Big East, while Louisville drops a game behind the Orange and Marquette (who play at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday) in the loss column.