SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Elijah Hughes scored 18 points and Oshae Brissett had 16 to lead four players in double figures as Syracuse beat No. 18 Louisville 69-49 on Wednesday night.
Syracuse (18-8, 9-4 ACC) suffered a 73-58 loss at North Carolina State in their last game a week ago, shooting just 35 percent, a weakness the Orange had displayed in all four of their conference losses. They found their mark from behind the arc against Louisville, hitting 11 3-pointers and holding the Cardinals in check throughout.
The Cardinals (18-9, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) were coming off two tough games. They blew a 23-point second-half lead and lost to top-ranked Duke just over a week ago, and on Saturday barely eked out a 56-55 win over Clemson. Louisville led the Tigers by seven points with 17 seconds remaining and Clemson had two chances in the final seconds to walk off the court with a win.
The slump continued against the Orange. Louisville entered the game shooting 36.3 percent from 3 and finished 14 of 54 (25.9 percent), a season low, and 6 of 28 from 3.
Jordan Nwora had 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting to lead Louisville, Dwayne Sutton was 1 of 10 for five points.
Buddy Boeheim had 14 points and Tyus Battle 11 for Syracuse.
Syracuse led 35-23 at the break and the sluggish Cardinals couldn’t get untracked. After Cristen Cunningham missed a 3 from the top of the key and Nwora followed with an air ball, Battle converted a steal and dunk, then fed Hughes for an open 3 on the wing. Less than two minutes later, Hughes hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to boost the Orange lead to 47-28 with 12:05 left.
Syracuse’s 2-3 zone was purring in the first half, too, and the Orange led by as many as 16 after both teams struggled at the start. The Cardinals averted falling further behind by hitting 10 of 12 free throws.
In the opening nine minutes, the teams combined to shoot 4 of 18 from the floor, 2 of 10 from beyond the arc, and each had four turnovers. The Orange held the Cardinals without a basket for 7:20 and put together a 15-3 run to gain a double-digit lead. Boeheim hit a 3 and a runner, Hughes converted a pull-up 3 in transition, and Brissett’s left-handed layup gave Syracuse a 26-13 lead with 4:03 left in the first half. A dunk by Steven Enoch with 3:48 left broke the drought for the Cardinals, who trailed 35-23 at halftime after shooting just 1 of 13 from long range and 6 of 26 (23.1 percent) overall. They entered the game shooting 37.3 percent from 3-point range in league play.
The Cardinals will drop again in the next Top 25.
Louisville: After losing three of their previous four — all the losses to ranked teams — the Cardinals were reeling and have to figure out something fast with No. 3 Virginia up next.
Syracuse: The Orange still have to play No. 1 Duke and No. 3 Virginia at home and No. 8 North Carolina, Wake Forest and Clemson on the road. That’s a daunting schedule before the postseason begins, and point guard Frank Howard is still not performing to his level of play. He took one shot and didn’t score against Louisville.
Louisville hosts No. 3 Virginia on Saturday at noon.
Syracuse hosts top-ranked Duke on Saturday night.