No. 4 Louisville advances to Sweet 16
Russ Smith scored 17 points as the Cardinals advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009 with a 59-56 win over New Mexico Saturday.Chane Behanan and Kyle Kuric added 10 points apiece for fourth-seeded Louisville (28-9), which will play the winner of Sunday’s game between Michigan State and Saint Louis in the West Regional semifinals.Drew Gordon had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Kendall Williams scored 11 points for New Mexico (28-7), which has never won consecutive NCAA tournament games.The Lobos battled back from a 15-point deficit and trailed 55-53 after Gordon’s tip-in with 1:16 remaining. But a defensive breakdown allowed Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng to slam home a dunk with 32.3 seconds left and the Cardinals held off the comeback attempt.Louisville led by one point at halftime and began the second half with an 18-4 run to take a 15-point lead.Russ Smith scored on a three-point play and Chris Smith drained a 3-pointer to cap the spurt and give Louisville a 44-29 advantage with 13 minutes to play.Jamal Fenton scored back-to-back baskets to get the Lobos going and Williams later hit a 3-pointer as New Mexico cut the deficit to 47-42 with 7:18 remaining.Gordon hit two free throws and Demetrius Walker nailed a 3-pointer to pull New Mexico within 53-51 with 1:38 left.Dieng had 10 rebounds for Louisville.Smith had nine first-half points and Louisville led 26-25 at halftime.GAME NOTEBOOK: Gordon left the game for a short time late in the first half when teammate A.J. Hardeman crashed into his left knee. … Louisville guard Peyton Siva had six assists. … New Mexico hit 5 of 23 3-point attempts. … The Cardinals are 5-1 against No. 5 seeds in the NCAA tournament.