No sweat for Louisville in listless loss to Syracuse

Anas Mahmoud in a tight spot going for a rebound (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Apparently asking a bit much to get overly excited about playing Syracuse for a team that had lost three of its last four games and on a two-game skid. Easy does it, nothing to get worked up about for the University of Louisville basketball team.

Fire in the belly, what’s that? Never let them see you sweat. Not against Syracuse.

Another disappointing night for Deng Adel, third loss in a row (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

UofL seemingly just going through the motions, content with hanging around for much of the game. Syracuse, like Virginia and Florida State before them, sliding through the UofL defense with ease, making all kinds of improbable shots. 

Fans hoping for the Cardinals to make a run would be only partially rewarded. UofL would manage to cut a 10-point deficit to two points at the 4:05 mark. Getting back in the game with Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud repeatedly taking the ball inside, fouling out two Syracuse starters.

Ready to capitalize. But no.

For some inexplicable reason, Louisville will revert back to the outside game. Three-point clunker by Quentin Snider, three-point brick by Deng Adel, a two-point unanswered prayer by Snider. Forget about Spalding and Mahmoud, those guys won’t see the ball again.

Just a momentary scare, not a serious threat, and Syracuse will easily prevail 78-73. The Cardinals going from almost a sure thing to a desperate bubble team over the past week, their won-loss record falling to 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the conference.

The Cardinals showing all the signs of slipping away at a time when they need to be fine tuning. Not that they seem all that concerned, with the disappearance of any intensity. Maybe they know something we don’t, and they’re saving it for a stretch run.  Maybe. 

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.