LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Louisville finally looked like its old
self against Memphis on Saturday.
Francisco Garcia scored 18 points and the 21st-ranked Cardinals
snapped a four-game losing streak with a 66-60 victory over the
Tigers (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP).
Otis George added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Cardinals
(18-7, 8-6 Conference USA), who won for just the second time in
"The losing streak was preying on our minds," Louisville coach
Rick Pitino said. "This win meant a lot to us."
The Cardinals won 16 straight games earlier this season, but
hadn't been the same since Garcia and point guard Taquan Dean were
injured in late January.
Finally healthy, Louisville was back to its usual, up-tempo
style against the Tigers, chasing down loose balls and turning
steals into fastbreak baskets.
"We definitely got after them," said Luke Whitehead, one of
three Louisville seniors playing in his final home game. "The only
thing that could break the pressure on us was to get a win."
The Cardinals scored 20 points off the Tigers' season-high 21
turnovers. They were outrebounded for the fifth straight game
(35-29), but shot 41 percent -- their best mark in six games.
"There was a lot pressure on us," Garcia said. "We just had
to come out here and go to work."
Memphis shot 56 percent from the free throw line (14-for-25),
its worst in a league game this season.
"Two things hurt us: free throw shooting and bad decisions,"
Memphis coach John Calipari said. "Short of that, this team did
everything it could do. We didn't play great, but we gave ourselves
a chance to win and we had a will to win."
The Cardinals hit eight of their first nine shots and jumped to
a 17-8 lead. But Louisville committed three consecutive turnovers
and Memphis quickly closed the gap to 17-15.
Duane Erwin converted a three-point play with 7:13 left in the
first half to give the Tigers their first lead, 22-21.
The Cardinals retook control with swarming defense, forcing
seven straight turnovers in an 11-0 run. The Tigers finished the
first half with 15 turnovers -- more than they had in 16 games this
"Defense wins games and it did today," Whitehead said.
Two free throws by Kendall Dartez and a 3-pointer by Garcia
pushed Louisville's eight-point halftime lead into double figures.
The Tigers missed their first nine shots after halftime, but the
Cardinals also went cold, missing seven straight shots after
Burks' pullup jumper with 12:05 left ended a 9-minute Memphis
field goal drought. Banks made two free throws 33 seconds later to
trim Louisville's lead to 45-35.
The Cardinals led 58-48 when Banks hit a 3-pointer from the
corner with 6:03 left. George hit a short jumper in the lane, but
Burks sank a shot in the lane and a 3-pointer to trim the Tigers'
deficit to 60-56.
"I thought when we were down four, we were winning the game,"
Louisville led 61-57 when Burks lost the ball to George on a
drive. Garcia then found George open for a dunk with 33 seconds
Garcia pumped his fist as the capacity crowd came alive. Banks
silenced the fans by banking in a 3-pointer from the top of the key
with 25 seconds to go.
"You've got to give them credit," Calipari said of Louisville.
"With what's happened to them in the last three weeks, they had a
chance to fold and go away or panic. And they didn't."
Rodney Carney, Memphis' third-leading scorer and second-leading
rebounder, did not play in the second half after twisting his right
ankle in the first.