SYRACUSE The Louisville Cardinals, once upon a time, had Syracuse’s number winning seven straight games.
But the Orange eliminated those painful days, getting some measure of revenge as it defeated the Cardinals again, 58-49, in Saturday's regular-season finale inside the Carrier Dome.
A total 32,205 spectators gave seniors Scoop Jardine and Kris Josephplus reserves Matt Tomaszewski, and Nick Resavy, a thunderous ovation. It was the fifth-largest basketball crowd in Dome history.
No. 2 Syracuse established a new regular-season standard, improving to 30-1, 17-1 in the Big East, where they were outright regular-season champions.
The Orange established control midway through the first half, posting a 15-2 run that produced a 28-16 lead. That run extended to 38-14 in the second half as Syracuse literally ran the opposition off the court.
Louisville shot poorly beyond the arc, accounting for two-for-23 3-point shooting, and were woeful from floor overall, finishing 13-for-37. The Cardinals' shooting misery was attributed to the strength of SU’s zone, as it prevented interior passing and forced Louisville into long scoring droughts.
Though it was Senior Day, and Joseph and Jardine were supposed to add one more regular-season chapter to their stellar career, it was junior guard Brandon Triche snatching the spotlight, scoring a team-high 18 points, while adding six assists and seven rebounds.
Triche was five-for-10 shooting from the floor and three-for-six from 3-point range. In doing so, he broke out of a month-long scoring slump while, at the same time, backed it up with an excellent defensive performance.
Not reflecting on his performance Triche spoke about his team’s overall accomplishments.
“It’s pretty impressive when look at it five years from now,” said Triche. “But if we do not go far into the NCAA Tournament, 30 wins does not mean much.”
Joseph came on strong in the second half finishing with 11 points five assists, while Jardine was held scoreless, but did did register seven assists and three steals.