Back On Track: Syracuse rises up for important road win over Louisville
The Syracuse University men's basketball team is officially back on track.
After Saturday's deflating 15-point home loss to No. 2 Virginia, the Orange was left searching for answers as it prepared for a quick turnaround to travel to Louisville on Monday night.
With the chips stacked against them, the Orange came out swinging from the KFC Yum! Center.
Syracuse trailed 10-5 early, but that's when Tyus Battle and Frank Howard took the game into their own hands.
Following a pair of lead changes, Oshae Brissett gave the Orange the lead for the rest of the game. Brissett knocked down a pair of free throws to give Syracuse the 22-21 lead -- a lead the Orange would never relinquish.
Syracuse held a 39-33 lead at the half.
The Orange outscored the Cardinals 16-0 in fast break points, allowing Syracuse to build the healthy advantage.
In the second half, it was more of the same.
Both teams traded baskets, as Louisville responded with a run to cut it to a 48-44 deficit.
But, again, that's when the Orange surged ahead.
Battle's 25 points and Howard's 22 gave the Orange the lift it so desperately needed Monday night.
Brissett fouled out late in the game, chipping in 16 points and eight rebounds.
Louisville cut it close late, making it a 73-70 Syracuse lead with under 30 seconds remaining.
But Battle knocked down four straight free throws to give the Orange the lead for good, holding off a talented Louisville squad in an arena that has not been kind to Syracuse in recent memory.
"This was our best win in a long time," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said during his post game press conference. "Coming off a couple of, really, not good offensive -- three bad offensive performances in a row. To play well offensively tonight, I just thought we had great patience. We hit some shots. It's a lot easier to try to win a game when you score more than 50 points. We haven't been able to do that for a few games now. This was a great effort."
With the 78-73 win, Syracuse improved to 16-8 overall, along with 5-6 in ACC play.
The Orange will have a chance to make it two straight on Sunday afternoon, 1 p.m., when Wake Forest pays a visit to the Carrier Dome.