No. 6 Syracuse upsets No. 1 Louisville 70-68
By GARY GRAVES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville's reign at No. 1 is likely over after one week.
The Cardinals' focus now is on reclaiming the top spot and holding on when it matters - through the season's end in April - after falling to No. 6 Syracuse 70-68 on Saturday.
"That doesn't bother me at all," Cardinals senior guard Peyton Siva said of the team's expected slip when the new poll is announced Monday.
"I'd rather have the No. 1 ranking at the end of the year. I really don't mind having the No. 1 ranking at all. We're going to work our way back up to that spot and hopefully get it at the end of the year."
Doing so means overcoming mistakes in, including one by Siva, the Big East's preseason player of the year.
His cross-court pass was intercepted by Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams with 26 seconds left. Carter-Williams took the ball from the Cardinals' free throw line and slammed a contested dunk down 3 seconds later over Louisville center Gorgui Dieng for the go-ahead basket.
"I saw him at the last minute," Siva said. "It was just a stupid pass on my part."
The Cardinals had a chance to win or tie on their last possession, but another pass from Siva to Dieng landed near his knees before being stripped and was stolen to seal Syracuse's win. It was the Orange's third straight win over the Cardinals.
Siva, who finished with three points going 1 of 9 from the field, was already dreading the film session to break down the loss.
"He's mature. I don't even worry about him," junior Russ Smith said of his backcourt mate. "At the end of the day, he worries about me. Peyton is Peyton. I expect him to just be Peyton on Tuesday (against Villanova)."
Smith led Louisville with 25 points, the only Cardinal in double figures. Chane Behanan had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Syracuse gutted out the road win in front of a school-record crowd of 22,814, but Orange coach Jim Boeheim felt the Cardinals were still the team to beat in the Big East as well as the nation.
"They will be there at the end of the year, and the team to beat," Boeheim said. "I think they will be the team to beat in the country when it all comes down to it in the end."
Carter-Williams had 16 points, Jerami Grant and C.J. Fair both had 10 for the Orange (17-1, 5-0) who won their seventh straight.
When asked if he still thinks his team is the best in the country, Behanan responded, "We're one of them. We just got beat by one of them. There's a lot of good teams. All that matters is who is going to come to March and get the job done."
It was the second straight Saturday No. 1 went down as Duke lost to then-No. 20 North Carolina State 84-76.
It was the Orange's third straight win over the Cardinals.
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 as he scored nine of his team's final 11 points, including the last four.
He added a rebound and another steal at the end to cap a 16-point, seven-assist game that made it easy for Carter-Williams to forget a five-point first half and those two missed free throws.
Brandon Triche also played a big role in beating the Cardinals.
He was 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 Conference.
Louisville, which was ranked No. 1 for the second time in school history, had its 11-game winning streak stopped. The Cardinals shot 41 percent (24 of 59) including 29 percent in the second half.
After taking a 68-66 lead on Smith's two free throws with 1:58 remaining, Louisville missed two shots and committed two turnovers.
"That was a great college basketball game and they made some really terrific defensive plays down the stretch," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They made the plays, they made the shots when it counted and we didn't."
Updated January 19, 2013