Junior guard Kyle Kuric and senior guard Preston Knowles combined to score 45 points Saturday afternoon, including 12 3-pointers, to help the Louisville Cardinals (No. 16 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) hold off a hard charging No. 12/13 Syracuse Orange, 73-69, in a Big East Conference contest at the KFC Yum! Center. Using five 3s, Kuric netted a game-best 23 points, while Knowles scored 22 with seven 3-pointers. Overall, the Cardinals (19-6, 8-4 Big East) made 13-of-37 (48.1 percent) from behind the 3-point arc to earn their seventh straight win over the Orange. Syracuse (20-6, 7-6), which started the season 18-0, have lost two straight games and six of its last eight.
Behind a 21-4 run, which was capped by Knowles nailing a 40-foot 3-pointer that beat the first-half buzzer, Louisville led 40-30 at halftime. The Cardinals extended their margin to 57-37 with 15:19 to play and seemed to have full control of the game. The Orange, who were about to be blown out of the one-year old building, didn't give up and slowly chipped away at the disadvantage. In the next 14 minutes, SU outscored Louisville 20-5 and trailed 69-66 with 1:39 remaining. However, the Orange couldn't put together any solid possessions in the final minutes and the Cardinals held on.
Sophomore guard Brandon Triche scored 14 of his team-best 21 points in the second half. Scoop Jardine added 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Forward senior Rick Jackson and forward junior Kris Joseph were silent. Jackson tallied just seven points and rebounds, while Joseph had nine point on 2-of-5 shooting.
The Syracuse basketball schedule has the Orange traveling to the West Virginia Mountaineers for an ESPN "Big Monday" contest (7 p.m.). Next Saturday, SU hosts the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Carrier Dome (4 p.m.).