U of L CardFile: Syracuse

It appeared obvious from the get go in this defense-less ACC matchup that the Louisville/ Syracuse game would come down to a play or two at the end that one outfit would make, the other wouldn’t.

The Orange scored the first hoop of the contest.

The Cards answered with a 9-0 run.

Not long after, ‘Cuse had their own 9-0, 14-2 skein. At which point, the homies led by 5, 16-11.

And so it went.

Until — OK I won’t bury the lede any longer — Red Autry’s guys showed a scintilla more poise at crunch time, and prevailed on a goal tend call, 94-92.

There were 13 ties.

18 lead changes.

U of L’s largest advantage was 7 way early.

Syracuse’s largest was 6.

Louisville plundered the undersized victors on the boards, 40-21. That +19 disparity gave U of L a 20 point 2d chance advantage.

Didn’t matter, because . . .

. . . it was more than mitigated by the winner’s 33 fastbreak points. Against only six for the Cardinals. That’s +27 favor home team in case you’re keeping score at home.

I kept thinking about a tale I’ve heard too many times from The Professor.

In the early 70s, he earned a graduate law degree from some little school in Cambridge, Mass, and he and his bride would go often to watch the Celtics in Boston Garden. Where Red Auerbach would be heard constantly yelling, “Stop The Ball.”

Which U of L did not do on the deciding play. Or, for that matter, the rest of the game either.

Skyy Clark, who played bigly down the stretch, knotted the tilt  out of a timeout at 92 with but a few ticks left.

‘Cuse immediately inbounded the ball and streaked down the hardwood with extreme dispatch.

U of L didn’t stop the ball.

That goal tend ensued.

After going end to end, Qadir Copeland’s layup was granted, when Kaleb Glenn’s block from behind was considered against the rules of the game.

Thus the battle was appropriately decided by an Orange breakaway.

That the Cards might be the ones to crack came into focus on an interlude with 2:25 to go, and ‘Cuse up three with the ball. Just as the shot clock was to expire, Ty-Laur Johnson fouled JJ Starling.

It was Johnson’s 5th foul.

Starling was shooting a trey.

Huge Mistake.

Starling made all three charity tosses for 87-81 advantage.

Clark halved that disadvantage a few empty possession later with an old fashioned three point play. 84-87.

Kenny Payne called a timeout.

Then: Huge Mistake, Part Deux.

Mike James fouled Copeland, running behind him in the backcourt.

It was James’ fifth. Copeland converted one of the freebies for 4 point lead.

Louisville kept answering. Syracuse didn’t wilt.

Chris Bell, who by the by tallied 30 on 11/15 ( 8/10 beyond the arc) shooting, made the key play down the stretch, blocking a Clark breakout layup after a steal, to preserve the lead.

Louisville’s 54% marksmanship was one-upped by the victor’s 61%.

Louisville was a heady 11/25 from Treyville. Syracuse was also enjoying their visit to that burg at 10/22. Plus they feasted on opportunities granted by the Cardinals’ 17 giveaways.

Nice offensive efforts from Clark (23), White (17), Huntley-Hatfield (19) and James (12) weren’t enough.

All in all: Close. But unlike that Auerbach fellow in Beantown, no cigar.

— c d kaplan



5 thoughts on “U of L CardFile: Syracuse

  1. It is always the little things in a close game. Cards shot extremely well and foul shooting was good. Couldn’t keep the turnovers down or the fouls…huge disparity with both. Great effort…it’s the little things, though.

  2. Denny Crum’s teams’ practice shorts had “Defense Wins” inscribed on them. I guess Kenny forgot that.

  3. Not to disagree with anything you say, because its all true. I watched on tape delay, and must say a few things. First, Johnson’s 5th foul was another bad call, as the shooter clearly kicked his leg out to cause the contact. 3 points for the ‘Cuse. I’ll also give James a pass on his unfortunate 5th as I think he just took a bad step and his foot got tangled, tough break. Then you have to talk about the “goaltend”, an egregious error by whoever was responsible for that call. No question it should have been tie game, Louisville ball and we likely go to OT. Even Luke Hancock said so on the post-game, and despite his ties to Louisville he is a fair and unbiased analyst. In a defense-less matchup I’ll say Syracuse didn’t deserve to win either, especially on a gift from the zebras.

    1. As Lancaster Gordon once said after the Cards lost a close one on a late shot, “We just have to be further ahead at the end, so it can’t happen.” Or something to that effect. Johnson should have never been that close, especially late in the close game, especially when he knew he already had four fouls.

      1. and especially when its a 3 point shot. All true. As was the fact that we didn’t get back on D after Clark’s shot. Still, I have to call out the officials when they deserve it.

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