Monday, January 26, 2009
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Clark leads Louisville over Syracuse 67-57

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[January 26, 2009]  SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Earl Clark scored five of his 16 points in the final two minutes and No. 9 Louisville held off No. 8 Syracuse 67-57 on Saturday.

After Eric Devendorf gave Syracuse a 55-54 lead with 2:55 left, Clark hit a 3-pointer from right wing to put the Cardinals ahead to stay as the Orange misfired repeatedly in the closing minutes. Syracuse, averaging 80.4 points a game, had only two field goals in the last seven minutes in being held to a season-low in points.

RestaurantIt was the seventh straight win for Louisville (15-3, 6-0 Big East), which handed Pittsburgh its first loss of the season, 69-63, eight days ago. Syracuse (17-4, 5-3) lost its second straight -- the Orange fell 78-60 at No. 4 Pitt on Monday.

Terrence Williams had 15 points and nine rebounds, Clark also contributed 13 rebounds and five assists, and Edgar Sosa finished with 13 points for Louisville.

Devendorf led the Orange with 20 points, Jonny Flynn had 12 points, and Arinze Onuaku had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Andy Rautins, the Orange's top outside threat, twisted his right ankle in front of the Syracuse bench and limped off the court with 7:17 left in the game and the Orange trailing 54-48. He did not return, finishing with just three points.

Clark followed his critical 3 with two free throws and Williams hit a jumper from left wing as the shot clock was about to expire to boost the lead to 61-55 with 50 seconds left. Sosa and Samardo Samuels each sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds to secure the triumph.


Syracuse entered the game leading the Big East with a 50 percent shooting percentage and had little trouble coping with the Louisville press. But the Orange finished 18-for-51 (35.3 percent) from the floor, their lowest shooting percentage of the year, including a woeful 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) in the second half.

The Orange also never got its uptempo attack going consistently and scored just 13 fast-break points as the Cardinals won the battle on the offensive glass 21-13.

Still, Syracuse had plenty of opportunities to score in the final two minutes, but with 6-foot-9 Terrence Jennings helping to clog the lane, Flynn missed three times on drives to the basket and Devendorf misfired once.

Syracuse trailed the entire first half after Williams hit a runner in the lane just 17 seconds into the game. The Cardinals extended the lead to 30-20 on a pretty feed from Preston Knowles to Clark in the lane for an open layup with 7:49 left.

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With its outside attack failing, the Orange became more aggressive, repeatedly driving to the basket. Louisville committed five fouls in the ensuing four minutes and Syracuse rallied. Kris Joseph's layup off a feed from Devendorf had the Orange back within 31-28 with 3:16 remaining as Louisville went nearly five minutes without a basket.

Sosa hit a 3 from the top of the key to break the slide and a dunk by Jennings gave Louisville a 36-28 lead at 2:17. Devendorf's three-point play in the final minute made it 38-33 at halftime.

The lead could have been greater, but the Cardinals missed four shots in a final flurry under the basket right before the buzzer. Louisville scored only six second-chance points despite outrebounding Syracuse 14-7 on the offensive glass and 25-14 overall in the period.

[Associated Press; By JOHN KEKIS]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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