Score: No. 8 Louisville 67, Cincinnati 51
Star(s): Louisville: Russ Smith 18 Pts, 3 Reb. Rick Pitino 300 U of L career wins. Cincinnati: Cashmere Wright 15 Pts, 3 Reb.
Story: The game started off with three 3-pointers – two from Cincinnati’s Cashmere Wright. It was projected to be an outside shooting match, and the first few minutes ensured that promise. At the first media timeout, all Louisville starters had scored except for Gorgui Dieng. The offensive finishing seemed far greater than the last time the two played, which was in the Big East Tournament.
With ten minutes to go in the first half, it was already 20-15. A few baskets later, the shooting lagged and the score stayed tied at 22-22 until Gorgui Dieng layed up a second chance basket. The half ended with a three from Siva, and the Cardinals led 35-31.
The second half started on the flip side – lots of Cardinal defense and very little scoring. Forcing turnovers was no problem, but finishing the steals certainly was. For a good portion of the half, U of L had more forced turnovers than it did field goals. Then came a beautiful, just absolutely gorgeous lob from Hancock and dunk from Chane Behanan.
Siva then, as Siva often does, got his fourth foul, with a little more than 11 minutes to go. Pitino sent in Kevin Ware, and soon enough, it was a steal and breakaway dunk by Ware that caused Mick Cronin to call his final timeout of the night – with around 9:30 left in the game. And with nine to go, Cincinnati had more troubles than defending the backcourt… It was the Louisville backcourt harassing their ball possession. UC had 20 turnovers at that point. With nine minutes to go. Twenty turnovers.
Louisville took it and ran with it. With just four minutes left, Siva returned to the game and the deficit had escalated for UC. The Bearcats had a season high number of turnovers, and Coach Pitino got his 300th win for the University of Louisville.
Had an awesome night watching Louisville pound Cincinnati. twitter.com/keysty/status/…
— tyler keys (@keysty) March 5, 2013