As the first half buzzer sounded, Coach Rick Pitino took his Louisville team into the locker room with a, well, non pleasant look to say the least. The Orange of Syracuse played one of the best halves a coach could ask for, playing fundamentally sound on offense and striving on defense. The main source of points came from forward CJ Fair, who finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Knocking down three’s and squeezing the paint tight on defense, Syracuse took the lead early and never relinquished it, winning 35-22 at the break.
Down 13, Louisville charged back late in the game with contributions from their bench. The Cardinals went on a 20-3 run, causing Jim Boeheim to call a time out with a little under half way to go in the 2nd half. Montrezl Harrell was a surprise of major help, adding 20 points and 7 rebounds. With the help of foul trouble on the Orange, Louisville climbed back and obtained a 8 point lead with 8:46 left. The run eventually grew to a 44-10 run, amazingly giving Louisville a double-digit lead with the minutes winding down.
When the clock hit 0:00, the Cardinal fans, along with the team, erupted with yells of relief and accomplishment. It was fitting that the final Big East Championship was a nail biter all the way through until the end. The Louisville Cardinals are now written off in the history books as the last ever champions, and are highly likely to win a number 1 seed come selection Sunday. The Orange look to regroup and focus on the tournament, hoping to learn from their mistakes made tonight. College basketball is full of many uncertain hopes, but this game will be etched into history and the minds of fans for a very long time.