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Louisville drops heartbreaker to Syracuse, 70-69

The Cards fall to 0-4 in league play for the first time in over three decades.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 03 Syracuse at Louisville Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Just when you thought you’d seen every way to lose a game by a single point.

Louisville fell to 0-4 in ACC play Tuesday night via a 70-69 loss to Syracuse that included one of the most frenetic finishes in recent memory.

After a back-and-forth final few minutes, the Cardinals found themselves trailing by a point with 8.3 seconds to play following a pair of made free-throws by El Ellis. Syracuse freshman Judah Mintz broke the U of L full-court press but slipped and lost the ball after crossing midcourt. This put the ball in the hands of Ellis, who appeared to have the lane for a pass to Mike James for a potential game-winning layup. Instead, Ellis had the ball poked away from behind by Jesse Edwards, and the clock ran out as the two teams scrambled on the floor to try and gain possession.

It was a tough finish for a night that saw Ellis score a team-high 20 points to go along with nine assists, four rebounds and three steals. Mike James played the best game of his college career to date, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Jae’Lyn Withers, who did not start for the first time this season, came off the bench to score 10 points and grab seven boards.

Senior guard Joe Girard was the star of stars for Syracuse, finishing with a game-high 28 points and knocking down several key jumpers and free-throws in the game’s closing minutes.

While Louisville’s effort and offensive execution was light years ahead of what we’ve seen from them for most the season, the Cards still turned the ball over an absurdly high 21 times, including twice in the final 90 seconds. U of L did finish with 17 assists, its second highest total of the season.

Unlike some of the close games earlier in the season, this was one where it felt like they played hard enough to earn a win. Instead, they’re 0-4 in league play for the first time since 1990-91.