--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Seth Spalding
The Louisville Cardinals shelled another ACC opponent Thursday.
Syracuse was this time’s victim. The Orange averaged 78.1 points per game, which is 22nd in the country. They scored WELL UNDER that mark. Louisville won the game 76-51. They carried a large lead in the first period, and the rest of the game was history. The No. 2 team in the nation shot 40.9 percent for the game, and made 10 of 27 from beyond the arc.
Louisville was tied atop the ACC entering the game. After losses for both Notre Dame and NC State, Louisville is currently the conference leader.
Syracuse relies on scooping up the ball and turnovers to win. They did not have the advantage in the game Thursday; with Louisville leading the game off the glass 46-38. Louisville also forced 17 turnovers, and only committed 12. 25 points were scored from turnovers.
“I don’t think it was us being sluggish.” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said “I think it was Louisville being good.”
In the first quarter, Louisville led by five within the first 1:10. They led by 14 after a 13-2 run over the middle of the quarter. Sam Fuehring hit a pair of free-throws and Arica Carter hit a three to extend the lead to 15. Syracuse was able to decrease the lead to 10, but Carter hit a three-pointer with two seconds left to end the period; and give Louisville a 30-17 lead.
Louisville’s dominance continued well into the second. The Cardinals had an early 11-2 run. Louisville ended the half with a 50-31 lead.
The Cardinals shot nearly 53 percent for the period. They were 7 for 17 from beyond the arc, and hit 8 of 10 free-throws. Meanwhile, they held the Orange to 37.5 percent, and only allowed 4 of 13 three-pointers. Louisville also out-rebounded Syracuse 20-17. 12 of Louisville’s points were scored by Asia Durr.
The Orange came out of the locker rooms with an 8-0 run. They hit their first three field goals. Then, the Cardinals scored eight consecutive of their own. Louisville turned it into a 16-2 run lasting from 6:43 to 1:11. Louisville had a 70-42 lead entering the final quarter.
Syracuse scored 38 seconds into the third, but neither team could find the basket for a while after. Bionca Dunham made a free-throw with 7:08 left in the game. Then, Lindsey Duvall hit a three at 5:51. With just over one minute left, Syracuse hit the 50-point mark.
“We have really done a good job of doing that the past four or five games; of holding teams under 50.” Jeff Walz said after the game, “Our goal is to win. At the end of the day, our goal is to win.”
The Cardinals move to 22-1, and are 9-1 in the ACC. They hit the road next, and will take on Virginia Tech Sunday at 12. Louisville returns to the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday, February 17th, at 3pm. They have three home games left.