In a matchup between two top 10 teams, it came down to the last possession. Unforutnatley, Louisville came out on the losing end after a Syracuse steal in the closing minute. The game ended 70-68.
Peyton Siva has struggled against Syracuse in the past and this game was no exception. He was 1-9 from the field with only 3 points. In one of the most pivotal possessions of the game, Siva drove the lane and tried to kick it out to Blackshear. Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams stole the pass and went on to dunk it, giving the Orange a two point lead.
The Cardinals still had another chance to tie it up with 13 seconds left. Siva drove the lane again and made a pass to Gorgui Dieng on the low post. Dieng fumbled the pass and was unable to get the shot up before 3 Syracuse men were on him. He ended up losing the ball and that was the game. Dieng filled the stat sheet, finishing with 4 Pts, 8 Rbs (5 Off), 6 Ast, and 5 Blks.
Player of the game for Louisville was Russ Smith once again. Smith showed why he is one of the premiere players in the country. Down the stretch Smith hit big free throw after big free throw. The play where Siva had the ball stolen from him was supposably supposed to be run to Smith in the corner but the ball never ended up getting there. Smith and Syracuse’s Brandon Triche seemingly took over the game for their respective teams. Smith finished the game with 25 Pts, 2 Rbs, 1 Ast, and 4 Stls.
Montrezl Harrell played outstanding for the time that he was in there. For a stretch in the first half, he seemed unstoppable and was controlling the paint like a veteran. Chane Behanan played just as well though as he finished just one point shy from a double-double. Though Behanan wasn’t on the floor during Syracuse’s run to put them ahead around the 4 minute media timeout, which seems unexplainable in my mind. Behanan was a regional MVP and was on the wooden watch list, and Pitino doesn’t have him on the floor at one of the most important times in the game?
Luke Hancock shot 2-2 from beyond the three point line and finished with 7 points in 22 minutes. Though Hancock is a good shooter and contributes a good basketball IQ, I find it hard to see reasoning why he is pulling more minutes than Wayne Blackshear. On the defensive end Hancock is unable to keep a quicker man in front of him. Blackshear is quick enough to cut off the lanes and keep the man in check. It will be interesting to see how their minutes end up situated the rest of the season.
In the end, even though the loss stings, did anyone really expect Louisville to go to the end of the season with 1 loss? This one loss to a top 5 team isn’t a bad thing at all. It could even be a blessing in disguise if they start to use this feeling of losing as fuel for the rest of the season. Not to mention it is very rare to run into a shooter as unconscious and Brandon Triche was.
Louisville’s next game will be against Villanova on Tuesday at 8 P.M.