The No. 10 Louisville Cardinals picked up a huge road win Saturday, topping the No. 12 Syracuse Orange, 58-53.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 12-4 in Big East play. The Orange dropped to 10-6.
The first half was an affront to offensive basketball. Good looks were hard to come by, and shooting struggles by both teams meant that scoring was a rare occurrence.
The Orange trailed 23-19 at the half, with C.J. Fair scoring 10 of their 19 points.
Syracuse came out a much more efficient team in the second half. Committing far fewer turnovers and shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor, the Orange refused to make things easy on the visitors.
However, Louisville proved to be too much. Despite no points from star guard Peyton Siva, the Cardinals prevailed, Gorgui Dieng, the Cardinals' 6'11" junior center, provided a big boost on defense and absolutely dominated the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds, and Russ Smith scored 18 points.
As the The Post-Standard points out, the next time these teams play each other, it'll be an ACC game:
The next time Syracuse and Louisville face each other in the regular season, they will be in the ACC.— Syracuse Basketball (@PSBasketball) March 2, 2013
The folks at Lost Lettermen don't like Syracuse's chances in March:
Syracuse just has that "Round of 64 loss to Vermont" look all over it...— LostLettermen.com (@LostLettermen) March 2, 2013
Mark Schlereth offered a humorous spin on the offensive struggles of both teams:
Trying to nap while watching Louisville vs Syracuse and the clanging of shots off the rim keeps waking me up. #bricks— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) March 2, 2013
Don't blame either team for the overall offensive ineptitude, because according to Tim Brando, there's just something about the Carrier Dome:
Clear cut case of "The Iron Unkind" at The Carrier Dome. Last Saturday the score at halftime against G'Town was 23-21.Today 23-19 Louisville— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) March 2, 2013
Syracuse struggled mightily in the opening half, but as CBS Sports points out, the Orange came out a much more efficient team in the second frame:
.@cuse shooting 50% and only 2 turnovers here in the second half.— HoopsonCBS (@HoopsonCBS) March 2, 2013
Peyton Siva's struggles kept Syracuse in the game. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Siva is used to struggling against the Orange:
Peyton Siva entered today 9-30 FG, 4.3 PPG in his career vs Syracuse. So far, he's 0-8 with 0 points with 8 minutes left today.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 2, 2013
We can all agree with Andy Katz here. It's a good thing this isn't the last time we'll see these programs going head-to-head on a regular basis:
These Louisville-Syracuse games have been highly-competitive and a great watch. Good thing at least this series will continue in 2014-15.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 2, 2013
This may have been a difficult game to watch, but it's the kind of physical game that you must be able to win to advance in the tournament.
Louisville showed a lot of grit and toughness in this one and picked up a pivotal road win as a reward.
With Siva struggling, the Cardinals showed off their balance by finding offense from Dieng and Smith. Every basket had to be earned and it came down to who played the better defense down the stretch.
This is the kind of win that you want to see if you're a Louisville fan. If you're Syracuse, this is the type of result that should make you nervous. The Orange held the Cardinals' offense in check, but couldn't produce enough points to pull off the win.