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Cards Win BigEast

The Louisville Cardinals used a strong second half push to breeze by the Syracuse Orange and win the Big East Tournament Championship by a score of 78-61. Montrezl Harrell came off the bench to lead Louisville with 20 points.

Syracuse came out hot in the early minutes as C.J. Fair and James Southerland hit threes and got the Orange out on an 8-0 run. The Orange stayed comfortably ahead for most of the first half, with two Peyton Siva free throws bringing Louisville as close as they would get at 17-15 with 9:27 remaining before intermission..

Michael Carter-Williams scored five straight points before a Fair three gave Syracuse a 35-20 advantage. Siva was able to hit a late fast break layup to put Louisville down 35-22 at the half. Louisville was beaten badly on the glass, being out rebounded by seven in the first half, in addition to shooting 25% from the field.

Early in the second half it briefly appeared that the Orange may run away with the Big East Championship as back to back threes by Southerland and Fair gave them a 45-29 advantage with just 15:48 remaining.

A turning point in the game came shortly after as Southerland was sent to the bench after picking up his fourth foul of the contest. Russ Smith got Louisville back to within single digits at the 14 minute mark with a three pointer that was followed with a put back lay in by Stephan Van Treese.

Louisville finally took the lead with 9:50 remaining as Siva found a cutting Harrell for a dunk that put the score at 49-48. By this time it was a 20-3 run for the Cardinals. The game started to get away from the Orange as a Carter-Williams was called for a flagrant 1 foul that after the made free throws had Louisville up by five. Immediately after, Kevin Ware hit a three pointer to but Louisville up 56-48, a lead they would never relinquish.

By the end, Louisville had outscored Syracuse 56-26 in the second half. Syracuse was led by Fair’s 21 points, in addition to 11 points plus 9 assists from Carter-Williams. Gorgui Dieng added a near triple double for Louisville, finishing with 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Sam Jackson: PureSportsNY

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