LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams wasn’t fazed by a shaky first half, nor two missed free throws in the final minute that gave No. 1 Louisville chances to win.
The sophomore just knew he had to redeem himself, and his second-half recovery helped the sixth-ranked Orange rally for a 70-68 upset Saturday.
It was the second straight Saturday that No. 1 went down. On Jan. 12, Duke was beaten by then-No. 20 North Carolina State, 84-76.
A record crowd of 22,814 at the KFC Yum! Center saw Syracuse beat a No. 1 team for the fourth time, all Big East teams.
Carter-Williams’ most important contributions were a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:28 remaining, followed by a steal and go-ahead dunk with 23 seconds left. He scored nine of his team’s final 11 points, including the last four.
Carter-Williams added a rebound and another steal at the end to cap a 16-point, seven-assist game that made it easy for him to forget a five-point first half and those two missed free throws.
“I wasn’t going to go out without a fight,” Carter-Williams said. “They were pressuring us, coming at us in the first half. The second half, I tried to fight back the best I could. I had two or three turnovers, but I just kept flipping the page.”
Brandon Triche shot 9 of 13 from the field, including five of Syracuse’s seven 3-pointers, to finish with 23 points as the Orange (17-1, 5-0 Big East) took control of the Big East. He credited Carter-Williams for getting the win.
“Michael was the reason we won the game, getting the dunk,” Triche said. “I might have kept us in the game, but he’s the reason we won the game getting the two steals. That’s winning stuff.”
The Orange won their seventh straight and beat the Cardinals for the third time in a row.
Russ Smith’s 25 points led Louisville (16-2, 4-1), which had won 11 straight. The Cardinals began the week with the second No. 1 ranking in school history.
“I’d rather have the No. 1 ranking at the end of the year,” Louisville guard Peyton Siva said.AROUND THE NATION
• NO. 4 KANSAS KEEPS ROLLING – At Austin, Texas, Ben McLemore scored 16 points, and fourth-ranked Kansas (16-1, 4-0 Big 12) came back from a late double-digit deficit to win its 15th straight, 64-59 over Texas (8-9, 0-4).
• NO. 7 ARIZONA WALLOPS RIVAL – At Tempe, Ariz., Mark Lyons had 24 points, lifting No. 7 Arizona (16-1, 4-1 Pac-12) to a 71-54 victory over Arizona State (14-4, 3-2).
• NO. 13 BUTLER STUNS NO. 8 GONZAGA AT BUZZER – At Indianapolis, Roosevelt Jones stole an inbounds pass with 3.5 seconds left and made a floater from just inside the foul line before the buzzer, giving No. 13 Butler (16-2) a dramatic 64-63 victory over No. 8 Gonzaga (17-2). Jones finished with 20 points as the Bulldogs won their 13th in a row. Sam Dower and Elias Harris each scored 20 for Gonzaga, which had won eight straight.
• DONOVAN REACHES MILESTONE - At Gainesville, Fla., 10th-ranked Florida (14-2, 4-0 Southeastern) coasted to an 83-52 victory over No. 17 Missouri (13-4, 2-2), giving coach Billy Donovan his 400th win with the Gators. He is 400-160 at Florida and 435-180 including a stint at Marshall. Donovan is the third coach in SEC history to win 400 games at the same school, joining Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp and Louisiana State’s Dale Brown.
• NO. 18 SPARTANS REPEL NO. 11 BUCKEYES - At East Lansing, Mich., Keith Appling hit two free throws with 7.9 seconds left and scored 15 points, lifting No. 18 Michigan State (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten) to a 59-56 victory over No. 11 Ohio State (13-4, 3-2). Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 28 points.
• SHOCKERS STUN NO. 12 CREIGHTON - At Wichita, Kan., Carl Hall had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Wichita State (17-2, 6-1 Missouri Valley) ran its home win streak to 17 with a 67-64 win over No. 12 Creighton. Doug McDermott scored 25 for the Bluejays.
• McGRUDER FUELS NO. 16 K-STATE - At Manhattan, Kan., Rodney McGruder had 20 points as Kansas State (15-2, 4-0 Big 12) gained a 69-60 win over Oklahoma (12-4, 3-1).
• BRUINS’ WIN STREAK ENDS AT 10 - At Los Angeles, Tony Woods scored 18 points, and No. 21 Oregon (16-2, 5-0 Pac-12) pulled away late for a 76-67 victory over UCLA (15-4, 5-1). Shabazz Muhammad sat out the first five minutes because he was late for practice Friday. He finished with 10 points for the Bruins, who had won 10 in a row.
• HAWS, BYU BLOW OUT SAN DIEGO – At Provo, Utah, Tyler Haws scored 25 points to power Brigham Young (15-5, 5-1 West) to a 74-57 rout of San Diego (11-9, 4-1).