6:55 PM ET, February 17, 2005
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- When the Louisville Cardinals found themselves down by 11 points to Marquette with 5:38 left, they didn't think of turning to their prolific offense to bail them out of another upset."We had to win this game with defense, not offense," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said after Francisco Garcia's 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left capped a 14-0 run that gave Louisville a 64-61 win Thursday night.The Cardinals clamped down on the Golden Eagles, who turned the ball over once and missed three free throws, three 3-pointers, a jumper and two layups on their final nine possessions."We just kept digging in on defense," said Garcia, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, helping the 12th-ranked Cardinals avoid their second loss in three games.Travis Diener's 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim."You couldn't ask for a better shot, I just missed it, missed it bad. It was the story of my night," said Diener, who also clanked two layups off the rim in the final minutes, finishing 2-for-16 from the floor in what the senior called his worst collegiate performance."They played good defense and we missed some layups. I missed some layups. I'm supposedly the best player on the floor. I should be able to make layups."The Golden Eagles tried to run the shot clock down in the final 5 minutes, and they ended up with hurried shots instead of good looks."It's feast or famine sometimes when you do that," Pitino said.After Louisville (22-4, 10-2 Conference USA) tied it at 61, Garcia turned over the ball to Todd Townsend with 47 seconds left.Joe Chapman missed a hurried 3-pointer just before the shot clock went off and Ellis Myles grabbed the rebound for Louisville with 13 seconds left.The Cardinals didn't call timeout, setting up a screen that left Garcia open for a 3-pointer."I was looking to create, but if they gave me the green light, I was going to shoot," he said.After two timeouts, Diener got the ball just past midcourt and had an off-balance shot at overtime, but it banged off the rim.Steve Novak's 14 points led Marquette (17-8, 5-7), which was in prime position to secure a confidence-building upset against a team that handed the Golden Eagles their worst loss ever -- 99-52 last month when Diener was sidelined by a foot injury.Marquette seemingly had the game in hand after Diener sank two of three free throws and then fed Novak for a 3-pointer on the break that gave Marquette a 61-50 lead.The Cardinals scored seven straight points, then Larry O'Bannon, who scored 15, was fouled by Chapman with 1:37 left. As he sank his first foul shot, Ryan Amoroso shoved Otis George to the floor, drawing a foul himself.After O'Bannon sank his second shot, George stepped up and sank two of his own, tying it at 61."That call at the end of the game on the push-off was costly, (but) it was the right call," said Marquette coach Tom Crean, who looked at the tape right when he got into the locker room."Let's face it, the momentum swing at the end with the free throws is what made this a game."But it was his team's close call that left Crean with at least some solace."The best thing about tonight is our team realized that the game down in Louisville was a complete aberration," he said.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||24-55 (.436)||20-53 (.377)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-14 (.286)||10-30 (.333)|
|FT Made-Attempted||12-15 (.800)||11-18 (.611)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||19 (0/0)|