"That was a heck of a win for us," said U of L head coach Rick Pitino. "Obviously we are a young basketball team that did not rattle. They stayed with their poise, they hung tough."
The Cardinals (15-6; 5-2), which had 10 first half turnovers, lost the ball just once during the second half. Edgar Sosa recorded a game-high four steals, which fueled a U of L defense that forced 17 Syracuse miscues, including eight during the game's final 20 minutes.
"We did an excellent job on them in the second half," said Pitino. "I cannot tell you how pleased I am with these guys, because nothing comes easy for this basketball team, but they just keep working so hard. They have had to battle so many injuries - such a lack of continuity. They never got down one time."
Sosa led all scorers with 19, while David Padgett added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Terrence Williams connected on just 4 of 12 shot attempts, but ended the game by draining two consecutive three-pointers that gave Louisville it's first lead since midway through the first half.
Clark totaled 10 points &
"Earl is playing really good basketball right now," said Pitino. "And the good thing is, I said this all along, he is going to be a great one."
The Cardinals and Orange each totaled 44 rebounds, with U of L outscoring Syracuse 17-13 in second chance points. Led by Clark's offensive showing, the Louisville bench outscored the visitors 22-19.
Louisville will next travel up I-71 to face long-time rival Cincinnati on Wednesday, January 31. The game, which is slated to tip-off at 8:00 p.m. will be broadcast locally on WHAS.