Samardo Samuels scored all eight of his
points during a late surge and Jerry Smith sank a pair of clutch
free throws with 17.8 seconds left and Louisville rallied past No.
2 Syracuse 66-60 on Sunday.
Syracuse (24-2, 11-2 Big East), which held off Connecticut 72-67
on Wednesday night after squandering a 16-point lead in the second
half, had won 11 straight since a loss to Pittsburgh.
It was the fifth straight win over the Orange for Louisville
(16-9, 6-5), which was 0-4 against ranked teams entering the game.
Its last win over a ranked team was a 10-point triumph over
Syracuse last March.
Samuels scored his first points of the game on a pair of free
throws with 7:46 left and followed with a hook off the glass to tie
the game at 50. Mike Marra's 3 from the left corner gave the
Cardinals a three-point edge and Samuels made a twisting layup
through traffic to put Louisville up 55-52 with 5:14 left.
Samuels' dunk off an inbounds pass gave the Cardinals their
biggest lead at 59-52 with 3:04 to go.
Six straight free throws by the Orange closed the gap to 62-58
with 64 seconds remaining, but Syracuse was unable to score again
after Kris Joseph's slam dunk with 31.9 seconds left made it a
Joseph was then called for an intentional foul on Smith, who
sank both free throws.
Edgar Sosa and Marra each had 12 points to lead Louisville.
Jared Swopshire had 10 points.
Wes Johnson had 14 points, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku each
had 12, and Joseph 10 for the Orange.
Rautins and Scoop Jardine missed 3-pointers in the final seconds
and Rakeem Buckles' slam at the buzzer ended the big win for
Louisville, which finds itself on the bubble for the NCAA
tournament and was in desperate need of a signature win.