Syracuse Orange forward DaJuan Coleman (32) posts up against Louisville Cardinals forward Stephan Van Treese (44) and forward Montrezl Harrell (24) during the first half of Syracuse's upset win. / Jamie Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE - On a Saturday with March-like weather, Louisville and Syracuse played a game with a tournament feel. Unfortunately for the top-ranked Cardinals, their final two minutes turned into madness.
The Cards' final four possessions?
Missed jumper. Turnover. Blocked shot. Turnover.
Louisville failed to score in the game's final 1:58 and - for the second consecutive year at home against Syracuse - failed to even get a shot off on its final possession. The Cardinals (16-2, 4-1 Big East) miscues down the stretch allowed the No. 6 Orange to emerge with a 70-68 victory before a record crowd of 22,814 at the KFC Yum! Center.
"When we took the lead with a couple minutes left, to me, we got a little rattled," said Louisville forward Chane Behanan, who had nine points and 11 rebounds. "I know I did."
It certainly seemed that way when, nursing a 68-67 lead, Peyton Siva dribbled into the lane and turned it over trying to kick the ball back out to Wayne Blackshear on the perimeter.
It was an eerily similar play to last season's 51-50 home loss to the Orange. In that game, Siva turned the ball over dribbling into traffic and trying to throw it back out.
This time Michael Carter-Williams, who scored 11 of the Orange's final 13 points, came away with the steal on Siva's pass and his dunk put them ahead 69-68 with 23 seconds left.
"We ran a play to get Russ (Smith) the ball in the corner, and Russ didn't get to the corner," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "You call timeout to run a specific play and you've got to get there. We were going to catch them in a bump and if Russ didn't have the shot, he could drive to close out and he didn't get there."
Syracuse (17-1, 5-0) continued to make defensive plays in the decisive moments. Blackshear thought he had a clear layup with 14 seconds left, but Jerami Grant rotated and recorded his lone block of the game.
"I had a good look, I should have just went up and tried to dunk it instead of laying the ball up," Blackshear said.
Trailing by two with 13 seconds left, Siva dished to Dieng under the basket. But the junior center never clearly had control of the ball and Carter-Williams came up with it on the Cards' final possession. As important for the Orange, his quick outlet pass prevented U of L from fouling and prolonging the game.
"I just dropped it," Dieng said. "I tried to grab it again and go up, but they all converge on me and make a steal."
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim praised the late plays by Carter-Williams, who had 16 points, and grabbed two of his four steals in the last 30 seconds.
"It was a great play, great steal and a great play," Boeheim said. "‚?¶Last year, same thing. Last play here, we stole the ball and we stole it here. Two steals to end the game. Unbelievable."
Carter-Williams finished the way Brandon Triche started for Syracuse. Triche, who scored a team-high 23, carried the Orange in the first half, accounting for 18 of their 38 points. The senior guard was perfect from the field in his first seven attempts including four 3-pointers.
Triche also helped steady the Orange after 12 first half turnovers. Carter-Williams had eight of their 16, but since the Cards made just nine field goals in the second half they couldn't crank up their press as much.
"Triche is very experienced, he's going to handle pressure pretty well," said Smith, who scored a game-high 25. "‚?¶Triche kind of big-brothered him and showed him the ropes and they got the job done. That's what good teams do."
Blackshear said the Cardinals would look back at the game as one of missed opportunities. After shooting 53 percent in the first half, Louisville shot 29 percent in the second. That was second to shooting 27 percent in the first half against Northern Iowa for its season-low in a half.
It certainly didn't help that Siva and Dieng combined to shoot just 2 of 14 from the field.
"We didn't know what we were going to do on offense," Blackshear said. "I think a lot of people were confused on what we were going to do. We kind of passed up on a lot of open shots and just took tough ones."
The loss will end the Cardinals' stint atop the USA Today/coaches' and Associated Press polls when the new ones are unveiled on Monday. It was the first time in program history Louisville was ranked No. 1 during the regular season. It was preseason No. 1 in 1986 by the UPI and was voted first in the final AP poll of the 2008-09 season.
"On a city standpoint this is the first time they've seen a regular season No. 1 ranking," Behanan said. "To lose on the first game back off the road is really devastating."
Brown also writes for the (Louisville) Courier Journal
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Read the original story: No. 6 Syracuse knocks off No. 1 Louisville in Big East battle