LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Kyle Kuric's move to the middle of the College of Charleston's zone late in the game was the critical move in the fourth-ranked Cardinals' 69-62 victory Tuesday night. He credited his son and assistant coach, Richard Pitino, with the idea.
"I give big credit to my son because he made the move that I thought won the game," Pitino said. "He said, put Kyle in there, he'll make the shot or something good will happen. And he got in there and really bothered them."
The move paid off as Kuric hit a go-ahead jumper in the paint with 3:12 to play, giving Louisville a 60-59 lead. It was the start of an 8-0 run over a 70-second span that helped the Cardinals (11-0) remain unbeaten.
"Coach told me to flash to the middle and whoever's open, throw it to them or make a play," Kuric said. "We are not use to having an open post like that."
Kuric finished with 17 points and Gorgui Dieng added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Antwaine Wiggins had 23 points and seven rebounds for Charleston (9-2), which tied a season-high with 12 3-pointers.
"We just showed tremendous fortitude down the stretch to win," Pitino said. "When you give up 12 3s, you don't normally win."
The Cardinals trailed 57-55 with 5:06 to play but went on a 9-2 run over the next 3 minutes, capped by a 3-pointer by Chris Smith that put them ahead 66-59 with 2:06 left.
A layup by Trent Wiedeman rolled out after breaking Louisville's full-court press with 2:54 left that would have given the Cougars a one-point lead. Louisville pushed the ball up the court and Russ Smith hit a transition 3-pointer 6 seconds later to make it 64-60.
Louisville trailed for just the second time at the half this season as Charleston looked primed to be the second Southern Conference team in as many days to pull off a road upset, leading 37-33 at the break.
Andrew Lawrence nailed a 24-footer to give the Cougars a 31-30 lead with 2:51 remaining and later hit Wiggins with a no-look wraparound for the assist on the half's final basket.
Davidson beat Kansas (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) 80-74 on Monday.
Louisville faced an eight-point deficit with 15:06 remaining but cut the lead to 49-47 on 3 by Russ Smith less than 2 minutes later. Charleston's Matt Sundberg answered at 12:58 to stretch the lead to five but Louisville's pressure defense held the Cougars in check for the next 5 minutes.
That sparked a 6-0 Louisville run, punctuated by consecutive dunks from Dieng and Behanan to give Louisville a 53-52 lead with 8:25 to play.
"Their pressure finally caught up to us down the stretch," Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said. "Their pressure is relentless."
Charleston ended its scoring drought and retook the lead on Anthony Stitt's 3-pointer at 7:52 before Kuric made a 13-footer in the lane to tie the game at 55-55 with 5:30 to play. Charleston led 59-58 after Wiggins' two free throws with 4:03 left but Louisville scored eight consecutive points, starting with a jumper by Kuric at the 3:12 mark.
Down 66-62, Wiedeman missed a layup with 36 seconds remaining and Louisville hit three of its final four free throws to close out the game.
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