As the No. 1-ranked Louisville Cardinals and 6th-ranked Syracuse Orange went back and forth, slugging it out like a pair of heavyweights for most of their game on Saturday, the atmosphere at the KFC Yum! Center felt more like a Final Four than a mid-January regular-season game.
And then, in the words of Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams, it got even more ridiculous.
After Louisville scored four straight points to tie the game at 66 with 2 minutes and 19 seconds left, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim called timeout. He needn’t have bothered.
“We couldn’t hear Coach talking to us in the huddle,’’ Carter-Williams said. “The atmosphere was ridiculous. The crowd was so loud we couldn’t even hear each other speak. It was ridiculously loud.’’
In those final two minutes; however, Carter-Williams silenced the over-capacity crowd of 22,814 with two critical steals. His first led to a breakaway dunk to put Syracuse ahead, and the second came in the final seconds to preserve Syracuse’s stunning 70-68 victory over the top-ranked Cardinals.