Led by Donovan Mitchell's 25 points, No. 7 Louisville had four players score in double-figures and used a stingy defense to spark a dominant 88-68 victory over visiting Syracuse on Sunday afternoon.
"I thought offensively we did a lot of really good things," said U of L head coach Rick Pitino. "I thought defensively, in the first half we played excellent defense. We just turned it over a few too many times. We rebounded better."
The Cardinals won all phases of the game. U of L out-rebounded Syracuse by 11, had 11 more assists, won the battle in the paint by 16 and out-paced the Orange in points off turnovers by nine.
Louisville shot 56.9 percent (33-58) from the floor, including 45 percent (9-20) on three-pointers.
Louisville improves to 23-6 overall, 11-5 in the ACC. The Cardinals remain in a second-place tie for the number two spot in the conference regular season race.
Deng Adel and Ray Spalding both receive strong consideration, but the nod goes to Donovan Mitchell.
The sophomore guard led the team with a game-high 25 points. He connected on 9 of 16 from the floor, including 6 of 10 from beyond the three-point arc. It marked the ninth straight game with Mitchell scoring in double figures and the eight time this season that he has poured in 20 or more points.
"I think he's playing like a star," said Pitino, who added that the Greenwich, Conn., product "worked his butt" during the summer. "He's a great shooter, he's improved his passing and he's a steal machine. Quite a player."
Mitchell also pulled down five rebounds, handed out four assists and snagged a couple steals.
"He can really shoot it," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "He's good with the ball and real athletic, but he's shooting the ball real well right now. That was the difference tonight, his shooting. He shot the ball great."
*** Ray Spalding had one of his best outings of his career. The Louisville Trinity product recorded his second career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He hit 8 of 9 from the floor. The 18 points equaled his career-high, matching his effort against North Florida ion Nov. 21, 2015. Had also registered a pair of assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
*** After building a quick 11-2 lead, the Cardinals suffered five turnovers in a three-minute span and Syracuse used the three-ball to spark a 15-2 run. Trailing 17-13 midway through the opening half, U of L responded with a 23-4 burst to build a 36-21 advantage.
*** Sophomore Deng Adel was the Louisville's answer against the Orange press in the second half. He scored seven consecutive points, three coming from the free throw line after drawing fouls on the run out. He finished with 17 points, marking the 18th time this season that he's enjoyed a double-figure outing.
RELATED: Box Score
*** Rick Pitino adjusted his opening lineup and went with a starting five of V.J. King, Ray Spalding, Anas Mahmoud, Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider.
*** Mahmoud just missed a double-double, recording eight points and nine rebounds. He also registered a game-high four steals.
*** Quentin Snider shot 5 of 9 from the floor to finish with 12 points and handed out a game-high six assists without a turnover. It's the 15th time this season that he's handed out at least four assists.
*** Led by a combined 20 rebounds from Spalding and Mahmoud, U of L out-rebounded the Orange 39-28.
*** The Cardinals hit nine three-pointers against the Cuse and improved to 13-0 this season when connecting on at least seven attempts from beyond the three-point arc.
*** U of L has now won five of the last six meetings against Syracuse and own an 18-8 overall series lead. Rick Pitino improved to 15-11 all-time against the Orange.
Louisville travels to Winston-Salem for a Wednesday evening contest against Wake Forest in the team's next to last regular season game. Tip-off is scheduled for 9p.m.