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Louisville 78, Syracuse 61

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- It will go down as the biggest shift in momentum in the storied history of the Big East Conference Tournament.

No. 4 Louisville held No. 19 Syracuse without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes in the second half, erasing an eight-point Orange lead to come away with a 78-61 win in the final game of the conference in its current configuration.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving for the ACC next season.

The Cardinals (29-5) claimed their third conference tournament title.

Syracuse led 47-39 with 12:50 to play, then hit a historic scoring drought, failing to score a basket until 1:48 left. During that stretch, Louisville outscored the Orange 34-11 to take a commanding 73-58 lead.

Freshman forward Montrez Harrell led the Louisville barrage with nine points. He finished with a team-best 20 points. The backcourt tandem of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith added six each in the run.

Syracuse was led by C.J. Fair's 21 points.

Louisville took the lead for good at 49-48 on a dunk from Harrell with 9:50 to play.

Syracuse was in search of its sixth championship. It also won the tournament in 1981, 1988, 1992, 2005 and 2006. Louisville was the defending champion.

Syracuse departs the conference as the most successful school in the storied history of the Big East. Its 366 regular-season wins are the most of any team as is its 51 tournament victories.

Louisville suffered through its worst half of shooting this season, converting just 7 of 27 shots from the floor for 25.9 percent. It also failed to produce any significant points off turnovers, a trademark for Pitino's team.

Syracuse led 35-20 on the strength of Michael Carter-Williams' nine points and six assists.

The Cardinals closed to 17-15 before the Orange went on an 18-5 run to end the half. Carter-Williams fueled the run with all of his nine points.

Louisville went nearly five minutes before making its first basket, going 0 of 8 from the field and trailing 8-0.

NOTES: Carter-Williams has accumulated 27 assists in three Big East Tournament games. ... Pitino was an assistant coach for two seasons on Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's first staff (1976-78). ... The Cardinals defeated the Orange 76-66 in the 2009 Big East tournament final.
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