Rapid Reaction: Louisville 62, Vandy 60
December, 2, 2011
By Jason King | ESPN.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Peyton Siva shook off two defenders on his way to an uncontested layup with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift Louisville to a 62-60 overtime victory over Vanderbilt at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Cardinals trailed 55-50 early in the extra period before two heroic shots by Kyle Kuric help set up Siva's game-winner. The first was a 3-pointer that turned a 57-55 deficit into a 58-57 lead with one minute remaining. Then, with 33 seconds left, Kuric broke a 58-58 tie on a pull-up jumper from 10 feet. Vanderbilt's John Jenkins knotted the score at 60 at the 12-second mark before Siva jogged down the court, blew past his man and scored the deciding basket.
Louisville missed a chance to win it in regulation when freshman Chane Behanan missed a point-blank shot under the basket at the buzzer after using a nice pump fake to get an open look. Then again, Vanderbilt would've had a comfortable lead if not for its performance at the free-throw line, where it missed 11 of its 17 attempts before the extra period. The Commodores led 47-41 before Louisville ended the half on a 9-3 run to force overtime.
Star of the game: Siva and Kuric will receive the most praise, and deservedly so. But Behanan had a huge second half for Louisville. He scored seven of his team's points during a 13-4 run that turned a 43-34 deficit into a 47-47 tie. Backed by a deafening crowd, Louisville maintained the momentum for the rest of the game. Behanan finished the night with a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds).
What it means: Louisville continues to show toughness and grit despite being grossly undermanned, mainly because of injuries. The Cardinals are underwhelming offensively, but they make up for it by playing a menacing defense that will give Rick Pitino's squad a chance in almost every game it plays. Louisville doesn't look like the sixth-best team in the country, and Vanderbilt was the first marquee opponent the Cardinals have defeated this season. Still, it's hard to not respect this team, which is led by one of the top coaches in America. Pitino is only getting better.
This is the third disappointing setback for a Vanderbilt squad that entered the season ranked No. 7. This one might not sting as much as Cleveland State and Xavier because it was on the road against a top-10 opponent. Still, Kevin Stallings' squad had every chance in the world to win this game, but the Commodores choked it away with poor free-throw shooting, sloppy passing and bad shooting, some of which was because of Louisville.
Up next: Vanderbilt has one more game, at Davidson on Wednesday, before the long-awaited debut of center Festus Ezeli on Dec. 17 against Indiana State. Louisville will have a chance to maintain its unbeaten start against IUPUI (Wednesday) and Fairleigh-Dickinson (Dec. 10) before hosting old rival Memphis on Dec. 17.