Villanova rallies late to upset Louisville
by C.L. Brown, USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA — University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino noted on Monday that he didn’t agree with observers who labeled the Cardinals the most complete team in the nation.
They proved him correct from their performance at the free throw line in a 73-64 loss to Villanova Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena.
The fifth-ranked Cards (16-3, 4-2 Big East) were 12 of 24 from the free throw line – including just 7 of 18 in the second half. The win allowed the Wildcats (12-7, 3-3) to snap a three game losing streak.
U of L had a six point lead and was seemingly in control of the game when its free throw misses started adding up. Twice the Cards missed the front end of 1-and-1 bonus and the missing multiplied from there.
Chane Behanan at one point missed five in a row from the line before making one that tied the game at 53 with 4:20 left.
But a combination of missed free throws were compounded by several turnovers down the stretch and the Cards could not recover.
Nova took the lead for good on Achraf Yacoubou’s 3-pointer with 3:57 left. U of L could only muster one field goal as Gorgui Dieng missed a pair of free throws and Behanan had two turnovers when he got the ball on the post.
The Cards’ 17 turnovers were the second most they’ve had this season.
U of L spent the first half playing down to the competition. The Wildcats, losers of three straight, rank last in the Big East in turnover margin in conference-only games. They were also last in turnover margin.
But the Cards matched them with 10 turnovers in the first half and it seemed as if everyone contributed to it. Dieng, Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Luke Hancock each had multiple turnovers in the first half.
Their early carelessness allowed Nova to jump out to an early lead. The Wildcats held the Cards scoreless for a five minute stretch that lasted until midway through the half then used a 7-2 spurt to take a 23-13 lead on a Tony Chennault’s 3-pointer.
Facing their biggest deficit, the Cards got … [For more on Villanova rallies late to upset No. 5 Louisville, click here.]