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Louisville beats Syracuse to win Big East

BEast Syracuse Louisville Basketball

Although it may give Head Coach Rick Pitino gray hairs, he can’t complain too much about the come-from behind formula his team has used to win games the past two days.  Just like the night before, Louisville started the second half facing a sizable deficit but immediately jumped on the Orange and took away the lead for good.  It may not be a strategy to rely on, but it gave the Cardinals the Big East Championship with a 76-66 victory.

A strong defensive half by Syracuse gave them a 38-30 lead at the break.  After the intermission, Louisville went on a 14-5 run to secure a lead they would never relinquish.  The run was sparked by Louisville’s full court press and in particular the defensive efforts of its senior forward Terrence Williams.  He finished the title game with seven steals, tying a Big East Championship record.

Williams also had 11 points and was part of a balanced Cardinals’ attack that had six players in double figures.  Freshman center Samardo Samuels led that group with 15 points, while junior forward Earl Clark contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds of his own.

Although they were unable to complete a memorable tournament run with a victory, the Orange still had their bright spots in the game.  Junior guard Eric Devendorf set the Big East Tournament record with 84 points in the four games.  

Sophomore guard Jonny Flynn was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.  Flynn, who set a Big East Tournament record for minutes played, averaged 19.8 points and 9.3 assists per game.  It was the fourth time in Big East Tournament history that a player from the losing team won the award.

While none of them won Most Outstanding Player, there are no complaints from the Louisville Cardinals.  The win tonight gives them their first Big East title since they entered the conference in 2006.  They also became just the third Big East team in the last 10 years to win the regular season title and win the tournament.

-David Cassilo

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