The 7th-ranked Louisville Cardinals got off to a hot start against the Syracuse Orange on Sunday, leading 11-3 just over five minutes into the game. But thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Tyus Battle and Tyler Lydon, the Orange cut into the Cardinals lead and made it 13-9.
But as the first half went on, Louisville’s offensive rebounding continued to dominate the Orange. Anas Mahmoud picked up where he left off from the first matchup, and had three offensive rebounds in the first seven minutes.
The Orange used a 12-2 run in the middle of the first half to take an 18-17 lead, but it was all Louisville after that.
At the break, Syracuse trailed, 41-25. Tyus Battle led all scorers with 14 points, while Donovan Mitchell had 11 for the Cardinals.
Louisville got out to an early 9-2 run to open the second half, and led by as many as 23 points. The Orange slapped on the press, which led to a few buckets, including a John Gillon 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 15.
After that 3-pointer, Gillon started to find his groove. He scored five straight, which cut Louisville’s lead to 60-46.
But as the game went on, Louisville’s dominance on the glass continued to suffocate the Orange. The Cardinals, one of the ACC’s best rebounding teams, controlled the glass, 39-28.
Andrew White, SU’s leading scorer, scored his first basket with nine minutes left in the game. He and John Gillon were held scoreless in the first half as the Orange had just three players score in the first 20 minutes.
Make no mistake, this Louisville team is for real. With its pressure defense, ability to offensive rebound and physical presence, they’re bound to make a run in March.
Syracuse is now 17-13 (9-8) on the season with one game remaining.
Freshman Tyus Battle led the Orange with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Sophomore Tyler Lydon recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He also had three steals.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 25 points for the Cardinals.
Syracuse hosts Georgia Tech in the regular season finale at the Carrier Dome this Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on the ACC Network. The Orange will honor seniors Dajuan Coleman, Tyler Roberson and Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye.