Syracuse Men’s Basketball Builds Momentum with Win over No. 18 Louisville
By Adam Unger
CitrusTV Men’s Basketball Reporter
After just two points against North Carolina State a week ago, sophomore forward Oshae Brissett needed to get his mojo back. An Elijah Hughes steal led to a three ball in transition for the Ontario native. He found his stroke in the far corner just 1:35 into the game.
“It was really important,” Brissett said. “And even though I played well today, I’m going to forget about it… I don’t want to dwell on what happened today.”
Brissett’s bounce-back game helped Syracuse (18-8, 9-4 Atlantic Coast) takes down No. 18 Louisville (18-9, 9-5) 69-49 in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday.
Both the Orange and the Cardinals got off to a slow start. Midway through the first half, Syracuse was up just 14-12 and the usual suspects were leading the way on the stat sheet.
Then, Syracuse kicked it up a notch.
A 10-0 run put the Orange in position to double down on Louisville, taking a 24-12 lead. Time after time, Syracuse was able to find an open shooter. Chris Mack used his timeout with 5:48 to go in the first half.
“I thought Tyus [Battle] and Oshae got in the lane,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Then Elijah kind of took over in the second half and Tyus and Buddy [Boeheim] got a couple good looks. That was the difference. We made some shots, and they didn’t.”
Syracuse kept up the barrage and had twice as many points as Louisville with two and a half minutes until the break, as well. It was 30-15 at that point and 35-23 when the teams went into the locker room.
Louisville opened the second half with a short run of its own, but the Cardinals could never cut the lead to single digits. Jordan Nwora, Louisville’s leading scorer, was held to just 11 points.
“Those guys [Nwora and Ryan McMahon] on the perimeter can shoot the ball, so we just had to lock down those guys,” Hughes said.
To try to get back into the game, Louisville started to run a full-court press in the second half. But for the most part, the Orange was able to break it with ease.
“We’ve got good ball handlers out there. Elijah got two threes off it. We got to the basket. We should not have trouble with that,” Boeheim said.
Syracuse quickly got up by 16 again, forcing Chris Mack to take his second timeout.
But it didn’t matter. Syracuse continued hitting three buckets from deep while Louisville didn’t make a single field goal in a four-minute span. The Orange led 56-38 with 7:17 to go in the game. Four SU players had already reached double figures.
“It’s really helpful. I didn’t play the best game offensively,” Battle said. “Elijah hit some big shots, Oshae played great tonight, and Buddy played great.”
As the game came to a close, both teams started to wind down offensively. Over a three-minute stretch, both teams hit only one field goal.
The walk-ons closed out the victory for the Orange as Syracuse picked up its third win of the season over a ranked opponent.
This win helps the Orange build momentum for a rematch with the best team in the country. No. 1 Duke comes to the Carrier Dome on Saturday for a 6:00 p.m. tip-off in front of a crowd expected to break the NCAA men’s basketball on-campus attendance record.
“It’ll be noisy,” Boeheim said.
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