No. 8 Louisville needed an extra five minutes to dispatch the feisty Syracuse Orangemen in the Carrier Dome. They also did it without the services of Donovan Mitchell for the last 3:01 of regulation plus the overtime.
Mitchell did a little bit of everything before fouling out. He led the Cards with 16 points on 6 – 13 shooting. He grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists to go along with three steals. He also delivered on a highlight reel lob off of a pass from Quentin Snider after Syracuse came back to take the lead. Even the Syracuse bench were amazed at Mitchell’s athleticism on the dunk.
The Cards looked to have the game in control with 4:28 to play as Mitchell put them up with a 3-pointer 55 – 48. However, turnovers and missed free throws let Syracuse right back in to the game. The biggest misses from the line came when Deng Adel missed two with 17 seconds left and the score tied. Syracuse then missed their game winning attempt to send the game to overtime.
The overtime went just as Rick Pitino drew it up. Or did it? Ryan McMahon, who played all of seven seconds in regulation, started the overtime and scored the first five points. He nailed a 3-pointer to open U of L’s scoring and then grabbed an offensive rebound and scored his first 2-point basket of the season. He also nailed two huge free throws to put the game away and give U of L the 76 – 72. He finished with seven points.
Anas Mahmoud was the other star of overtime. At one point he scored five consecutive points. A 51 percent free throw shooter on the season, he hit three of four in overtime.
Louisville improved to 21 – 5 on the season and kept itself in line for a prestigious top four seed in the ACC tournament. Syracuse, clearly on the NCAA bubble, fell to 16 – 11 and 8 – 6 in the conference.
U of L returns to the Yum Center for another huge conference game on Saturday. The Virginia Tech Hokies, fresh off of a big win against Virginia, come in to face the Cards. The Hokies will be looking for another marquee conference win to boost their NCAA resume.