Syracuse closes game on 6-0 run
Second-ranked Orange use late rally to down No. 19 Cardinals
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- C.J. Fair scored 13 points and No. 2 Syracuse scored the final six points of the game to beat No. 19 Louisville 52-51 on Monday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak against the Cardinals.
Syracuse (26-1, 13-1 Big East) used an 8-0 run to take an eight-point lead in the second half, only to see Louisville (20-6, 8-5) rally with a 15-2 run of its own. But the Orange held the Cardinals without a point over the final 3 1/2 minutes and Fair hit the go-ahead layup with 2:11 left.
Fab Melo scored 11 points and the best shooting team in the Big East overcame a 34.4 percent effort, including 1 of 15 from 3-point range, to win for the sixth consecutive time since losing at Notre Dame.
Freshman Chane Behanan had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Cardinals, who had won six conference games in a row.
It was a whiteout at the KFC Yum! Center with 22,738 fans wearing white and coach Rick Pitino donning his cream-colored suit, but it was far from a shootout with both sides struggling from the field.
Syracuse's Scoop Jardine missed all eight of his shots and leading scorer Kris Joseph struggled with foul trouble, while Cardinals forward Kyle Kuric went 1 for 8 from the field, including 1 for 6 from 3-point range.
The Orange came in shooting 48.1 this season, while the Cardinals' defensive field goal percentage was fourth-best in the nation at 37.2. Neither team could reach that mark against the other's zone looks.
Louisville guard Chris Smith finished with 10 points, while Gorgui Dieng had 10 rebounds and five turnovers, including a costly one late for the Cardinals, who shot 34.7 percent from the field.
Brandon Triche scored eight points, while Dion Waiters and Joseph added seven each for the Orange.
Triche hit a jumper -- Syracuse's first field goal outside the paint in the second half -- Melo hit two free throws and Fair added a layup to give Syracuse a 52-51 lead with 2:11 left.
Dieng committed a turnover instead of trying a 15-foot jumper, throwing it away and Smith missed a reverse layup with 57 seconds left.
Waiters missed a layup with 30 seconds left, giving Louisville a chance at the last shot, but Dieng couldn't handle a pass from Peyton Siva in the paint and Waiters stole it.
Waiters missed a free throw after being fouled and Louisville had 1.1 seconds left and the length of the court to go, but freshman Angel Nunez couldn't handle a pass from Behanan as time expired.
Louisville trailed 44-36 with 7:31 to play before Behanan sparked a 15-2 run.
On one sequence, he grabbed an offensive rebound for an easy dunk off Kuric's missed 3-point attempt, stole a pass into the low post from Fair and fed Dieng for an assist on a three-point play that made it 46-all with 4:57 left.
Joseph, who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, re-entered the game and missed a 3-point attempt. Smith hit one beyond the arc in the right corner for Louisville, and Behanan's putback of another miss by Smith that gave Louisville a 51-46 lead 3:39 left.
Those would be Louisville's final points of the night.