LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jazmine Jones scored 24 points to lead No. 7 Louisville to a 62-58 victory over of Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools Sunday.
Her free throws with 1:19 left gave the Cardinals (12-1) the lead for good as the teams traded the lead in the fourth quarter. The Orange (6-6) trailed by as many as 11 in the second half, but they took a 58-57 advantage with 2:37 left on Amaya Finklea-Guity's basket.
Louisville forced a held ball and a turnover in the final minute to help secure the victory in the first home game since Nov. 24.
Jones, a senior guard, served as the only offensive threat for the Cardinals in the first half as she scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting before halftime. Her teammates, meanwhile, made just 5-of-29 during that span.
She finished just one off her career high.
Elizabeth Balogun added 13 for the Cardinals. She got a key putback after missing two free throws with :31 left to make it a three-point lead.
The Orange led by as many six in the first quarter and 20-19 after a period. Kiki Lewis led Syracuse with 14 points. Teisha Hyman added 12.
Syracuse: Despite some early success, the Orange still struggled on offense. However, they were able to hang with the Cardinals thanks to their pressure defense that kept the Cards from finding any rhythm.
Louisville: The Cardinals played their first game in 10 days and showed some signs of rust as they shot just 34.9%. Some missed assignments on defense allowed the Orange, which came into Sunday making just 29.2% of their 3-pointers, to make 3-of-6 in the first quarter.
Syracuse will host No. 8 Florida State on Thursday night, the first home game for the Orange since Dec. 8.
Louisville travels to Clemson on Thursday night.