In the last game at Freedom Hall, Louisville takes its final bow.
Louisville hosted No. 1 Syracuse in a re-match game. With all the legends on hand along with a Freedom Hall record of 20,135 people, the Cardinals continued to assure their dominance over Syracuse.
All the Syracuse losses have come at home this season. The last time a team in the Big East ran the tables on the road was the 1992 UConn team that later won the National Championship. Syracuse missed the opportunity to join history.
Syracuse all season has been known for the deadly zone. Not to mention, they have one of the deadliest seven-man rotations in the country.
On paper, Syracuse could run away with this game. They achieved a No. 1 overall ranking and a four-game win streak coming in.
In the second half, Rick Pitino’s Cardinals came out with a chip on their shoulder. After trailing at halftimes in both wins, the Cardinals came out with an even bigger challenge.
Their senior guard Jerry Smith went down in the first half, which opened minutes for Kuric and Siva.
Guard Peyton Siva stepped up right away and led the Cardinals to a 55-48 lead with 11:09 to go.
Thereafter, Louisville continued to score points. Sophomore guard Kyle Kuric hit good shots down the stretch, highlighted by his streaky shooting.
But no field goal was more commanding than his dunk with less than four minutes to go compelling the lead to 14 with 2:39 left in the ball game.
Louisville was led by Kuric, who had 22 points, all coming in the second half that allowed the Cardinals to make a magical run to victory.
“Kyle Kuric was unbelievable,” said Rick Pitino. Kuric hit four three-pointers in the second half; all four showed great importance.
When asked about the win sophomore Kuric said, “It’s a great feeling, to leave Freedom Hall with a big win like this.”
The Cardinals ended the game with three players in double figures and a historical performance in the last bout at Freedom Hall.
“I have never felt pressured coaching a championship game, but tonight I felt the pressure,” said Pitino.
But his Louisville Cardinals succeeded and continued their dominance over Syracuse pushing the winning streak out to six straight.
This win virtually punches the Cardinals tickets to the dance. They have achieved a task not even second-place Villanova has done.
This win puts the Cardinals up to 20-11 and 11-7 in the Big East conference. The loss pushes the Syracuse Orange to three Big East losses, and drives them out of their No. 1 overall ranking.
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