On January 26th, Syracuse men’s basketball fans woke up with their team’s pride and record hurt by an embarrassing loss the night before. SU had been favorites over a mediocre Pitt team, but lost 64-53 to mark a new low point in the season. However, all the Orange have done since then is win three straight games, including today’s 92-69 demolition of Louisville. Over the course of its trio of wins against ACC competition, Syracuse has outscored its opponents by an average of 17 points per game.
Against Louisville this afternoon, Syracuse never trailed and put together the team’s most lopsided win over UL since February of the 2005-06 season. Things started out fairly close with the Cardinals trailing by as little as one point through the first five minutes, but a dunk by junior center Jesse Edwards made the score 11-7 with 15:50 to go in the first half. Though it may seem insignificant, it was a tone-setting play for a sparkling afternoon for Edwards, who eventually went on to tie for the team lead in points with 19 and rack up four dunks – one of which cracked the iron facade of Jim Boeheim.
Edwards’ point total was his third-highest of the season, second straight contest with 19 points, and a product of sound pick-and-roll plays. The Amsterdam native also tacked on eight rebounds and a pair of blocks, and left the game to a standing ovation.
“It felt amazing. The fans here have always been amazing to me…they’re always there. To come out like that…it was amazing, it was nice to even live in that moment.” (Edwards on his standing ovation, 2/5/22)
Save for a near-three minute scoreless stretch in the first half, SU didn’t have to sweat out many moments against the Cardinals. Louisville toiled on the offensive end for the entire afternoon and finished with a teamwide 40.3% mark from the field – its fifth worst shooting performance of the season. The main culprit for a stagnant Cards offense was its dismal efficiency from range. UL hit just 10 of its 35 three-point attempts, with four players missing five or more times. Such a bricklaying showcase was more than enough to doom the sinking Cardinals to their eighth loss in nine games.
Syracuse eventually turned the jets off in the second half and inserted bench players in Symir Torrence, Frank Anselem, and Benny Williams, among others. The damage was already done, though – four of SU’s five starters finished with at least 14 points. Notably, the aforementioned Williams seemed like one of the only Syracuse players unable to get in on the offensive action, finishing 0-4 from the field in 13 minutes.
“I just thought the improvement we’ve made on offense and continue to make is really the key for the rest of the year. We’ve just got to keep getting better there.” (Jim Boeheim, 2/5/22)
The Orange nearly left the Dome with their largest-ever win over Louisville (27 points is the record, set back in 1987), but a dominant win over a conference stalwart in front of a record crowd and comedian Pete Davidson was more than positive. SU is now 12-11 and over .500 for the first time since January 4th. Up next for the Orange is a trip to Boston College on Tuesday. Opening tip for that one is at 8 PM.