By Micah Brown —
Men’s basketball (16-8, 6-5) could not overcome cold 3-point shooting and defensive lapses as they fell to Syracuse 78-73.
The loss marks Louisville’s third straight and the fourth of their last five games.
After picking up wins against Florida State, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, it seemed as if this team may possess what it takes to not just make the NCAA tournament, but to make a postseason run.
However, that script has flipped over the previous five games, as the Cards fell to one of their resume-boosting wins in Florida State. With a loss to a seven-man Syracuse team, this group of players finds itself back in the bubble, desperately searching for a marquee win.
While the Cards shot 46 percent from the field (24-of-52), they managed to convert on just five of their 21 3-point field goal attempts for the game. Junior Deng Adel, who the Cards rely on for offensive production, went 0-for-6 for the game.
While they improved from their last game, turnovers remain one of the problems this team has failed to overcome this season. U of L turned the ball over 11 times to a ream that had much success on converting turnovers to buckets.
After trailing by as much as 12 with 16:12 to play in the second half, the Cards used a 12-2 run consisting of six straight points by junior Ray Spalding, who came off the bench to post 18 points and nine rebounds.
After cutting the Orange lead to 67-65 with 3:30 remaining in the game, sophomore VJ.King lobbed an ill-advised and off-target alley-oop to Spalding, who could not corral the ball in the air. After Syracuse failed to score, the Cards got the ball back with another chance to tie the game.
Unable to penetrate the 2-3 zone, Quentin Snider forced a contested shot that lead to a Syracuse bucket on the other end, which stretched the Orange’s lead to 71-65. From there, the Cards made a couple late threes to remain in the game, but could not get the necessary stops to come within striking distance.
The Cards look to snap their three-game losing streak as they host Georgia Tech, who has already defeated Syracuse this season. The Cards will face the Yellow Jackets in the KFC Yum! Center on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.
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Photo by Conner Farrell / The Louisville Cardinal