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Syracuse 58 - Louisville 72: Orange Struggle in Second Half, Drop to Cardinals

Syracuse wasn't able to slow Louisville's second half penetration and dropped to the Cardinals 72-58.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After taking care of business in Chestnut Hill on Sunday, the Syracuse Orange returned home for a cup of coffee before heading down to Louisville today to take on the Cardinals. The game got off to an ugly start for both teams and only one team got things going in the second. Louisville did an excellent job of penetrating the 2-3 zone. When Louisville didn't make its first shot, it did an even better job crashing the offensive glass for second chance points.

Syracuse ultimately fell to Louisville 72-58 but it didn't start pretty for either team. Louisville had eight first half turnovers while shooting 38.7 percent from the floor and Syracuse shot even worse at 34.8 percent. Syracuse had a lead as high as 12 in the first, but Louisville chipped away by knocking down a few threes and a Trey Lewis three before the halftime buzzer gave Louisville a one point lead.

Louisville quickly extended its lead in the second half largely in thanks to Damion Lee who knocked down three quick shots from downtown. Almost every Syracuse player struggled somewhat on the offensive end and the Orange finished shooting 38 percent from the floor. On the flipside, Louisville brought its shooting up 47.8 percent -- up 10 percent from the first half.

Trevor Cooney was able to stop some of the bleeding by knocking down five shots from range but it wasn't enough as Louisville blew the door off the hinges, or perhaps the springs off the rim; Louisville decided to dunk everything in the late second half.

And that was only one...

Syracuse was out-rebounded 41-30 and gave up 17 second chance points. Louisville also had a slight advantage in the paint as well.

On a more positive note, Franklin Howard saw extended minutes and made the most of his opportunity by dishing out a career-high six assists. Cooney finished as the high point man with 19 while Michael Gbinije added 13 and Malachi Richardson chipped in 10.

Syracuse will now have two days to prepare for Pittsburgh on Saturday. That game tips at 2 p.m. from the Carrier Dome and will air on ESPN2. Syracuse dropped the first meeting with Pittsburgh sans Jim Boeheim.