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Syracuse holds on for tight win over Louisville

Jan 3, 2023; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Justin Taylor (5) scrambles for a loose ball with Louisville Cardinals forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (5) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Girard III scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds as Syracuse eked out a 70-69 road win over Louisville on Tuesday.

Judah Mintz added 16 points and Jesse Edwards chipped in 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Orange (10-5, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won seven of their past eight games.

The Cardinals (2-13, 0-4) had a chance to win in the final seconds after Mintz fell down and turned the ball over. However, they did not get a shot off, clinching their fourth one-point defeat of the season.

El Ellis scored 20 points and dished out nine assists for Louisville, while Mike James pitched in 19 points. Jae’Lyn Withers finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Louisville generated some momentum after the game was tied 47-47 with just over nine minutes remaining. Withers knocked down a 3-pointer, and after Edwards split two free throws for Syracuse, Ellis drained a 3-pointer to make it 53-48.

The Cardinals still led by five after another 3-pointer by Ellis with 6:19 remaining, but the Orange rallied to take a one-point lead. Girard made a 3-pointer during the surge before Mintz’s transition dunk put Syracuse ahead 61-60 with 3:39 left.

The teams jockeyed back and forth several times down the stretch. Ellis’ jumper put Louisville in front with just under two minutes left, but Girard promptly knocked down a 3-pointer to regain the lead for Syracuse.

James drained a 3-pointer on the other end, putting the Cardinals in front with 1:03 to go. However, Mintz converted two free throws with 49 ticks showing to give the Orange a 68-67 lead.

Withers misfired on a jumper that would have put Louisville back ahead, and Girard’s two foul shots made it 70-67 with 17 seconds left.

Ellis sank two free throws with eight seconds left, setting up the sloppy final sequence.

Syracuse jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before Louisville scored 17 of the next 19 points. The Orange then went on a 17-2 run of their own with Mintz and Girard combining for 14 of those points.

However, the Cardinals closed the half strong, holding the visitors to one field goal over the final six minutes to take a 35-34 lead into the break.

–Field Level Media