At this point of the season a team is suppose to be playing its best basketball, well, the No. 2-ranked Syracuse Orange did just that Saturday in a 58-49 victory over visiting No. 19 Louisville Cardinals in a Big East Conference game at the Carrier Dome.
The Orange (30-1, 17-1) clamped down on defense forcing 14 turnovers and limiting the Cardinals to just 9.5-percent (2-for-21) shooting from behind the 3-point arc, while making eight 3-pointers in their regular-season-finale rout of Louisville (22-8, 10-8). The victory helped Syracuse earn a regular-season sweep of the Cardinals, who will enter the upcoming Big East Tournament, March 6-11, as the No. 7 seed. Syracuse had already clinched the No. 1-overall seed last Saturday.
Junior guard Brandon Triche netted a game-best 17 points, which included shooting 3-for-6 from 3-pointer range, for the Orange, who polished off the best regular-season in program and Big East history in front of the fifth-largest crowd to ever witness a game at the Carrier Dome (33, 205).
Hitting six of its first 12 shots, Louisville jumped out to an early 13-8 lead early in the first half. However, a cold streak over the final 12 1/2 minutes (2-for-13) led to a 18-3 run by Syracuse, which took a 26-19 lead into halftime.
Triche tallied the first eight points of the second half to help the Orange take a commanding 34-19 advantage just 1:33 in.
Louisville close the margin to 10 points, 50-40, with about 2 1/2 minutes to go, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Freshman forward Chane Behanan and sophomore guard Russ Smith each ended the game with a team-best 10 points for Louisville, which went just 2-for-21 from behind the 3-point arc.
For more on Syracuse basketball, check out this SB Nation New York StoryStream.
Check out, the SB Nation's blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician to discuss everything on the Orange, while the The UConn Blog is all about, well, UConn. Make sure to follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY, as we live blogged from the Carrier Dome.