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Syracuse 69, Louisville 59

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Center Rakeem Christmas scored 29 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead Syracuse to a 69-59 win over No. 12 Louisville on Wednesday night in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at the Carrier Dome.

The Orange (17-9, 8-5 ACC) trailed 35-28 at the half but outscored the Cardinals 41-27 in the final 20 minutes, led by Christmas, who rebounded from a subpar, 11-point effort against Duke on Saturday. Christmas grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots Wednesday.

Louisville (20-6, 8-5) lost for the third time in four games. The Cardinals played their first game without senior guard Chris Jones, who was suspended for violating team rules. His replacement, freshman Quentin Snider, scored 13 points in his first career start.

Syracuse forward Michael Gbinije, coming off a career-high 27-point effort against Duke, had 18 points against Louisville, while forward Tyler Roberson chipped in with 13.

Guard Terry Rozier led Louisville with 17, while forward Montrezl Harrell had 15, just three in the second half.

Louisville jumped out to its largest lead, 35-28, on a three-point play by Harrell to start the second half. However, the Orange went on a 16-5 run, taking a 44-43 lead on two foul shots by Christmas.

Syracuse extended its lead to 51-47 on a Christmas lay-in.

The Orange extended to a 60-52 edge, its biggest advantage of the game at that point, on an alley-oop from Gbinije to Roberson with 4:34 to go.

Syracuse guard Kaleb Joseph hit a jumper from the wing with one second to go on the shot clock, giving the Orange a 62-54 lead. Syracuse hit seven of eight foul shots down the stretch to keep the Cardinals at bay.

Louisville guard Wayne Blackshear, who was averaging 10.9 points per game, fouled out with 5:16 to go and failed to score, taking just two shots from the floor.

Louisville led 32-28 at the half.

Harrell and Terry Rozier led the Cardinals with 12 and nine points, respectively.

Harrell and Rozier combined for 15 of Louisville’s first 21 points as the Cardinals jumped out to a 21-13 lead. Louisville hit nine of its first 13 shots. Syracuse hit just four of 13.

Syracuse went on a 9-0 run, led by Gbinije’s five points. Gbinije had 10 points in the first half and a standout defensive play, racing full court to block a dunk attempt by Rozier. Gbinjie then scored on a floater to give Syracuse as 22-21 lead.

The Cardinals went on a 7-0 run to take a 28-22 lead before a layup by Roberson ended the streak. Christmas kept Syracuse close with blocks on consecutive plays. He scored 11 first-half points to lead the Orange.

NOTES: Louisville and Syracuse met for the first time as ACC foes. The last time the teams met was in the 2013 Big East tournament championship game at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinals defeated the Orange 78-61. … Louisville coach Rick Pitino spent two years as an assistant on Jim Boeheim’s first Syracuse coaching staff from 1976-78. … Louisville F Montrezl Harrell and Syracuse C Rakeem Christmas each had nine double-doubles entering the contest. … Louisville freshman C Chinanu Onuaku is the brother of former Syracuse C Arinze Onuaku. … Syracuse already clinched its 44th consecutive winning season, the top streak in Division I.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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