SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse made a Herculean comeback, but Louisville had Superman on its side. At least that's how the two Hall of Fame coaches put it.
Seldom-used Ryan McMahon scored all seven of his points in overtime, Anas Mahmoud added five straight in the extra period and No. 8 Louisville held off Syracuse 76-72 on Monday night to hand the Orange their first conference loss at home this season.
Louisville (21-5, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) scored 10 consecutive points in OT and barely hung on at the end. Syracuse trailed by as many as 14 in the first half.
"These guys fight," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "It was an unbelievable effort. A Herculean effort."
McMahon, who averages barely seven minutes per game, hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 61 in overtime and then put back his own rebound to tie it again at 63. His two foul shots gave Louisville its final margin.
"Ryan McMahon put on a Superman outfit and won the game for us," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said.
"He just called my name. I'm always ready to play," McMahon explained.
John Gillon sent the game to overtime for Syracuse (16-11, 8-6) by hitting a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go in regulation that tied the score at 58. The Orange took a 63-61 lead on two free throws by ACC leading scorer Andrew White, but Louisville scored the next 10 points to take control.
Tyler Roberson went to the line for two shots that would have tied the game at 74 with 2.7 seconds to go in overtime but missed both.
The Cardinals, who lead the ACC in 3-point field goal defense, held the Orange, fourth in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage, to 8 of 34 from beyond the arc. White, who leads the conference in 3-pointers, was held to 2 of 14 from long range.
Syracuse took its first lead on a layup by Thompson that made it 37-36 with 13:44 to go.
Louisville regained the advantage seconds later on an alley-oop, tomahawk slam by Mitchell. Syracuse took a 45-43 lead on a corner 3 by Lydon, but Mitchell answered with a 3 of his own to give the Cardinals a 46-45 edge with 7:51 to go.
A three-point play by Frank Howard gave Syracuse a 48-46 lead, but a three-point play and layup by Mitchell extended Louisville's advantage to 51-48.
A putback by Jaylen Johnson gave Louisville a 58-55 edge with 46 seconds to go, but Gillon tied the game at 58 just six seconds later.
Snider, playing in his second game since returning from a hip injury, sparked the Cardinals in the first half. He went 4 of 7 from the field, including 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. Louisville held a 29-25 halftime lead.
The Orange started ice cold, missing their first six shots before White hit a 3-pointer at the 15:28 mark.
Syracuse went more than four minutes without a point as the Cardinals built their biggest lead of the half on a bucket by Mahmoud that made it 28-14. Syracuse then went on an 11-1 run at the end of the half.
Louisville: The Cardinals, who dropped to eighth in the Top 25 this week, have a chance to climb a few slots after pulling out a road victory against an improved team.
Syracuse: There's no room for moral victories for the Orange, who are squarely on the bubble for an NCAA tournament bid. A win over Louisville would have been huge.
With its next game against Virginia Tech, the Cardinals have a chance to move up in the rankings and strengthen their projected No. 2 seed in the NCAAs.
SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM
The Cardinals had 18 second-chance points to nine for Syracuse.
Before the game, Syracuse observed a moment of silence for Fab Melo, who played for the Orange from 2010-12. Melo died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 26.
Louisville hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon.
Syracuse has nearly a week off before hitting the road for a Sunday matchup with Georgia Tech.
Notre Dame guard D.J. Harvey is expected to miss four weeks with bone bruise on left knee.
What makes a team like Houston a potential Giant Killer? The Cougars are built to make trouble in March, especially as a double-digit seed. And they're not the only ones ready to be David vs. a Goliath.
There might not be one great team this season, but teams such as Oklahoma, Purdue and West Virginia have been pleasant surprises. Now we have to wait and see if they can really challenge for a national title.