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Louisville holds on for victory vs. Kentucky
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On December 29, 2012 @ 7:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Kyle Tucker, USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE — The Cats and Cards’ latest rivalry showdown was a thriller. The University of Kentucky trailed by as many as 17 in the second half but staged a furious rally, cut it to four with 7:23 to go and set up a frenetic finish.
But fourth-ranked Louisville staved off an upset with an 80-77 victory. It was Louisville coach Rick Pitino’s first win against John Calipari since the Wildcat coach came to Kentucky in 2010.
The Cardinals (12-1) pushed their lead back to seven points with 46 seconds left, but Archie Goodwin’s four-point play gave Kentucky (8-4) hope. Down five with 33 seconds to go, though, Goodwin got trapped and fired an ill-advised pass. Louisville’s Chane Behanan picked it off and cruised in for a clinching slam.
Behanan finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block, although teammate Russ Smith was named player of the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Peyton Siva added 19 points for the Cards.
Goodwin had a game-high 22 points but struggled with Louisville’s pressure and coughed up five turnovers, including the decisive one.
The Cats wasted another strong performance by point guard Ryan Harrow, who had 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers.
Kentucky was done in by 14 turnovers – not a high number, but almost all costly – and just 11-of-23 free throw shooting. Center Willie Cauley-Stein, who attacked the glass and played great defense, missed all four of his attempts at the line in the final three minutes.
UK, a 7 ½-point underdog, seemed initially to be fueled by the hostile environment at KFC Yum! Center rather than rattled by it. Deadlocked after nearly eight minutes, UK used an 8-0 run to take an 18-12 lead, punctuated by a Nerlens Noel blocked shot and slam on the other end, then an Alex Poythress three-pointer.
Noel had six points, four rebounds, two steals and one block before the break – officially, although he appeared to have three blocks. Harrow continued his upward trend with nine points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and … [For more on Louisville holds on for 80-77 victory vs. Kentucky, click here.]
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