Syracuse’s comeback falls short in 62-58 loss to No. 7 Louisville

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first_imgWith a one-point lead, the ball and less than three minutes remaining, it looked as if Syracuse’s fourth-quarter comeback was going to result in its marquee win of the season against No. 7 Louisville.The Orange had been in this position before against ranked opponents away from home — they held fourth-quarter leads over then-No. 24 Michigan on Dec. 5 and then-No. 22 West Virginia on Dec. 22. But in both games, SU’s offensive possessions in the final minute were sloppy and the opportunity to add a ranked win to its résumé slipped away. On Sunday, it was Syracuse’s (6-6, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) lack of aggression off a missed free throw that kept it from recording its biggest win of the season. With 30 seconds left and up by one, Louisville’s Elizabeth Balogun missed two free throws but got her own rebound after the second one and laid it in. On the ensuing possession, Kiara Lewis’ layup was blocked and grabbed by Balogun, who was fouled and sunk a free throw secure a 62-58 victory for Louisville (12-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The Orange have one win in six tries against ranked opponents this season. In three of its five losses, SU held a lead with less than three minutes left in the game.In a season full of slow starts, SU came out firing on Sunday. Digna Strautmane and Lewis made sure Syracuse didn’t replicate its six-point first quarter last weekend against West Virginia. The duo combined for 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first quarter to give the Orange a one-point advantage after the first frame. Louisville’s Jazmine Jones provided the spark for the home team, finding pockets of space in SU’s zone and sinking four jumpers in the opening period. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange’s smart ball movement and shot selection in the first quarter disappeared in the second. They made just one field goal and scored seven points in the first nine minutes of the second quarter. Emily Engstler drilled a hook shot and 3-pointer in the final minute of the half to bring SU’s second-quarter tally to double-digits and the Cardinals’ lead to one. Syracuse’s strong perimeter defense held Dana Evans and Kylee Shook — two of Louisville’s three leading scorers — scoreless in the first half. In the third quarter, though, the Orange focused on closing down Jones, who logged 18 first-half points, allowing Evans and Shook to get open looks from behind the arc. They each sunk one to extend Louisville’s lead to as big as 11. SU’s jumpers weren’t falling so it started driving to the hoop, proving effective when Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi converted an and-one and Gabrielle Cooper took two trips to the line. That whittled the Cardinals’ lead down to seven heading into the fourth.SU clawed back to tie the game at 54 after freshman Teisha Hyman bottomed three 3s before the under-five minute media timeout. When Lewis and Amaya Finklea-Guity made a jumper and layup, the Orange had a one-point lead with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, their first lead since the midway point of the second quarter.But SU’s lack of concentration on defense and inability to execute on offense doomed it in the final two minutes, and soon it ran out of time. Syracuse didn’t have a free-throw attempt in the fourth quarter while the Cardinals had eight, six of which came in the final minute and 20 seconds. Comments Published on December 29, 2019 at 5:14 pm Contact David: Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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