Without its shot-blocking center, Louisville got big efforts from its backcourt and a seldom-used backup to escape a Saturday scare from Illinois State.
Guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva traded turns taking over in the second half of the No. 5 Cardinals' 69-66 comeback win. Stephan Van Treese sparked Louisville in the middle, playing 34 minutes off the bench in place of Gorgui Dieng, who is out with a broken left wrist.
Smith had 14 of his 24 points in the second half while Siva 15 of his 20 after the break to help the Cardinals overcame an eight-point halftime deficit.
''We were eventually going to make a run,'' Smith said. ''We just picked up our energy and effort. They are a great team.''
Down three with a chance to tie, Illinois State's Tyler Brown airballed a 3-pointer with eight seconds left that was saved by Bryant Allen to Jackie Carmichael. Carmichael found Brown for another chance to force OT, drawing considerable contact from Louisville's Chane Behanan as the buzzer ...