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Christmas leads Syracuse past No. 12 Louisville

Feb 19, 2015 - 3:41 AM Syracuse, NY ( - Rakeem Christmas scored 29 points to help Syracuse beat 12th-ranked Louisville 69-59 on Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome.

Christmas added eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals as the former Big East rivals clashed for the first time as members of the ACC.

Michael Gbinije had 18 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Orange (17-9, 8-5 ACC), who have won three of their last five games.

Terry Rozier scored 17 points to pace a Louisville team that played without starting guard Chris Jones. Jones, the Cardinals' third-leading scorer and top assist man, was suspended for at least Wednesday's game because of a rules violation.

"We missed (Jones) a lot, but it's his selfishness that hurt the team," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "I'm not one that believes in suspensions. I believe in punishment where you get up in the morning, lift weights and have a curfew at night. This was not a decision by me. It's all cleared up.

"He could play the next game if he does what the assistant coaches tell him to do. If he doesn't, he sits again and I don't care if he sits the whole season to tell you the truth, I couldn't care less."

Montrezl Harrell posted 15 points and nine rebounds in the second straight loss for the Cardinals (20-6, 8-5).

Syracuse was down three midway through the second half, but Christmas supplied six points during an 8-0 run that left the Orange with a 52-47 lead. Gbinije found Tyler Roberson for the alley-oop dunk to make it 60-52 with 4:32 remaining.

The Orange made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

"We scored but it was mainly our defense that was the difference in the game," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.

Harrell hit two free throws to cap a 15-5 run and push Louisville's lead to 21-13 with 11:44 left in the first half.

The Orange, though, scored the next nine points and went up 22-21 when Gbinije made a jumper in the lane after disrupting Rozier on a dunk attempt.

But the Cardinals responded with a 7-0 burst, and they carried a 32-28 advantage into the break.

Game Notes

Louisville's Wayne Blackshear fouled out with zero points, zero rebounds and zero assists ... Roberson had 13 points and nine rebounds ... The Cardinals were outscored 21-7 at the foul line.