LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Freshman Chane Behanan rallied Louisville late. Even he wasn't sure exactly how it all slipped away.
Behanan had 16 points and nine rebounds, but No. 2 Syracuse scored the final six points of the game to beat No. 19 Louisville 52-51 on Monday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak against the Cardinals.
"The turnover at the end of the game; a couple of missed assignments on defense," Behanan said. "We're already upset that we lost, we're upset, I don't know, we should've won. That's what I'm trying to say."
Louisville (20-6, 8-5 Big East) had plenty of chances, using a 15-2 run to erase an eight-point deficit. But the Orange (26-1, 13-1) held the Cardinals without a point over the final 3½ minutes and C.J. Fair hit the go-ahead layup with 2:11 left.
Fair finished with 13 points and Fab Melo scored 11 points for Syracuse as the best shooting team in the Big East overcame a 34.4 percent effort, including 1 of 15 from 3-point range, to win for the sixth straight time since losing at Notre Dame.
"There are no moral victories," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who wore his cream-colored suit as part of a whiteout at the KFC Yum! Center. "We are crushed with this loss — absolutely crushed. We didn't get the job done when we should have. We were both having trouble scoring against each other which is a credit to both defenses."
Louisville guard Chris Smith finished with 10 points, while Gorgui Dieng had 10 rebounds and five turnovers, including a costly one late for the Cardinals, who shot 34.7 percent from the field and went 12 of 21 from the free throw line.
Dieng committed a turnover instead of trying a 15-foot jumper, throwing it away and Smith missed a reverse layup with 57 seconds left.
"Plays like Gorgui not shooting that shot that bothers me because we work on that every single day for 45 minutes. I don't care if our guys miss shots," Pitino said. "When they're open, they've got to shoot the ball. That kind of thing irks the hell out of me."
Dion Waiters missed a layup with 30 seconds left, giving Louisville a chance at the last shot, but Dieng couldn't handle a pass from Peyton Siva in the paint and Waiters stole it after it bounced off Triche. Kyle Kuric, who finished 1 of 8 from the field, was open on the wing.
"I just made the wrong decision," Siva said. "I didn't see Kyle open in the corner. I won't make that mistake again."
Louisville trailed 44-36 with 7:31 to play before Behanan sparked a 15-2 run.
On one sequence, he grabbed an offensive rebound for an easy dunk off Kuric's missed 3-point attempt, stole a pass into the low post from Fair and fed Dieng for an assist on a three-point play that made it 46-all with 4:57 left.
Syracuse's Kris Joseph, who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, re-entered the game and missed a 3-point attempt. Smith hit one beyond the arc in the right corner for Louisville, and Behanan's putback of another miss by Smith gave Louisville a 51-46 lead with 3:39 left.
Those would be Louisville's final points.
"We didn't pay attention to the scouting report and we didn't make plays," Dieng said. "We didn't play smart."