Louisville, KY – Michael Carter-Williams scored 11 of his 16 points in the final 7 1/2 minutes and came through with a steal and go-ahead dunk with 23 seconds left, enabling No. 6 Syracuse to knock off the nation's top-ranked team with a 70-68 victory over Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.
Carter-Williams added seven assists and Brandon Triche delivered 23 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range to lift the Orange (17-1, 5-0 Big East) to their seventh consecutive triumph and remain unbeaten in Big East play.
Russ Smith had a game-high 25 points for Louisville (16-2, 4-1), which had vaulted to the top of the polls for only the second time in school history on Monday by virtue of an 11-game win streak. Chane Behanan finished with nine points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Syracuse overcame 16 turnovers that the Cardinals converted into 21 points, as well as a 62-57 deficit with 7:37 left to play after Smith got loose for a dunk after stealing the ball away from Carter-Williams.
The Orange point guard would take over from there, however.
Carter-Williams accounted for the game's next seven points, capped by a long- distance basket with 5:28 to go that gave Syracuse a 64-62 edge. Jerami Grant then scored on the Orange's next possession, increasing the margin to four.
Louisville answered with six consecutive points, with Behanan's second-chance layup knotting the score at 66-66 with 2:30 left and Smith sinking two free throws 32 seconds later after Triche was called for a loose-ball foul to send the Cardinals back in front.
Carter-Williams made 1-of-2 from the line to cut the lead to 69-68 with under one minute remaining, then came up with the game's pivotal play when he intercepted an errant pass from Louisville's Peyton Siva and dunked it home for the deciding points.
"He made some mistakes, but he is a big-time player," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim of Carter-Williams. "He's got a lot of heart; he'll make plays."
Louisville had one last chance to tie or go ahead, but Gorgui Dieng couldn't handle a feed underneath and Carter-Williams came out of a scrum with the ball as time wound down.
"Give [Syracuse] credit, they made the plays," said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. "They made the shots when it counted and we didn't, so you have to give them credit. Great college basketball game and they won it."
Syracuse opened up a first half full of runs with an 11-3 spurt, doing most of its early damage in the paint, and built a 14-7 lead just over five minutes in behind eight points from Triche. The Orange's offensive execution would get sloppy afterward, however, and the Cardinals capitalized.
Louisville forced 10 turnovers over the initial nine minutes and went on a 15-1 tear to forge ahead. Montrezl Harrell accounted for six of those points, and the freshman's dunk off another Syracuse giveaway with 6:44 left in the period staked the Cardinals to a 28-19 advantage.
The Orange responded with a 12-3 sequence capped by consecutive treys from Triche to pull within 32-31, and Carter-Williams canned a triple seven seconds prior to the break to forge a 38-38 tie.
Triche made all seven of his first-half attempts -- four of which came from beyond the perimeter -- in an 18-point outburst, and the Orange shot 60.9 percent from the floor as a team for the opening stanza.
"Brandon kept us in it in the first half," said Boeheim. "We really didn't have much going in the first half. We started good, but then we didn't attack their pressure and we turned it over, which they make you do. You're going to have turnovers you just have to fight through it and not let it get you down."
Louisville came out strong to start the second half, registering eight straight points to move ahead by a 48-40 count with four minutes elapsed in the frame, but the Orange countered with a 12-4 flurry and drew even at 52-52 on Grant's jumper at the 10-minute mark.
Syracuse played its second straight game without third-leading scorer James Southerland due to an unspecified eligibility issue. The senior is averaging 13.6 points per game this season and leads the Orange with 33 made 3-pointers ... Siva managed just three points on 1-of-9 shooting, but had six assists to move into sole possession of second place on Louisville's all-time list with 551 career helpers ... Dieng finished with eight rebounds, five blocks and a career-high six assists ... Syracuse defeated a No. 1 ranked team for only the fourth time in 11 outings ... The game set an attendance record at the KFC Yum! Center with an announced crowd of 22,814.