12:00 PM ET, February 22, 2014
Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
CINCINNATI -- Three weeks ago, Louisville fought back from a 17-point second-half deficit against Cincinnati before fizzling down the stretch and losing a heartbreaker at home.
On Saturday, it was time for the Cardinals to return the favor.
No. 7 Cincinnati fought back from a 10-point second-half deficit to take a 55-52 lead with 90 seconds left in the game. Freshman Troy Caupain made two free throws with 11 seconds left to give the Bearcats a 57-56 lead.
Smith hit an open 18-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds left to give Louisville a 58-57 victory.
"Honestly, it felt really good leaving my hands," Smith said. "I was always ready. When I gave it up, I thought Terry might shoot . but when he raised up, he threw it to me, and I got a decent look at the basket."
The win was Louisville's sixth straight and 10th in 11 games. The winning streak started after the 69-66 loss to Cincinnati on Jan. 30. They snapped the Bearcats' 19-game home winning streak.
"Obviously, that was a hard fought game, better described as a bloodbath," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said.
Montrezl Harrell, who was just 5 of 12 from the free throw line, led the Cardinals (23-4, 12-2 American Athletic Conference) with 21 points, Rozier had 11 and Smith finished with 10 on 3-of-10 shooting.
Sean Kilpatrick had 28 points for the Bearcats (24-4, 13-2).
Feeding off the intensity of a sellout crowd at Fifth Third Arena, the game started fast-paced and physical in a matchup of two of the nation's best defenses. Louisville held Cincinnati to 6-of-31 shooting and the Bearcats limited Louisville to 8-of-30 shooting from the field in the first half.
Louisville had held seven of its last 10 opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field, and continued that trend Saturday. Unlike in the teams' first matchup, when Cincinnati shot 48.9 percent, the Bearcats started 3 of 27 from the field. Louisville swarmed the Bearcats, intercepting passes, swatting away shots and forcing Cincinnati to rush its offense.
"The thing that bugs me is that if they miss a shot, they let it bother them," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "I tell them that I will never take them out because of missed shots. Defense makes the difference. Play defense, play your butts off on defense, and they did today."
Cincinnati missed 13 straight field goal attempts over an 8:25 scoring drought as the Cardinals built a 21-9 lead. But down 12 points with 4:41 left in the half, the Bearcats outscored Louisville 8-1 the rest of the way before halftime, capping the half with a jumper by Caupain to make it 22-19. On the Bearcats' first possession of the second half, Ge'Lawn Guyn hit a 3-pointer to tie the game.
The Bearcats, fourth in the nation in scoring defense (57.4 points per game), held Louisville to just 22 first-half points. The output was the Cardinals' second-lowest in a half this season, slightly higher than the 20 points they had in the first half of the teams' first meeting.
Louisville found its touch in the second half, shooting 14 of 25 from the field and again building a 10-point lead.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati's shooting woes -- with the exception of Kilpatrick -- continued. Kilpatrick made 15 straight Cincinnati field goals in the second half, taking more than three times the number of field goal attempts (26) as any of his teammates.
Even though the Bearcats went ahead 52-51 on a free throw by Kilpatrick with 2:20 left, Cincinnati didn't make a field goal over the last 3:49 of the game.
"We were missing free throws and we were in serious foul trouble, and we couldn't stop Kilpatrick," Pitino said. "We went to a halfcourt trap and the guys did a terrific job getting the ball out of his hands."
"It was a really big game for us," Smith said. "To win a game with us against the world like that, with a team coming together, that's tremendous."
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-55 (.400)||16-56 (.286)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-11 (.273)||5-20 (.250)|
|FT Made-Attempted||11-22 (.500)||20-25 (.800)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
Louisville won its first game of the season against a team ranked in the AP top-25, outscoring Cincinnati 34-14 in the paint. In their previous four games against ranked opponents, the Cardinals were outscored by an average of 12 points per game in the paint.[+]
Louisville vs AP Top-25 Teams
With his 10th point of the game, Sean Kilpatrick became the second player in Cincinnati history with 2,000 career points, joining Oscar Robertson.
Cincinnati's 19 1st-half points are a season low for in a half. Louisville's 22 1st-half points are its 2nd-fewest in any half this season. The fewest points it scored in a half came in the first meeting against Cincinnati when it scored 20 points in the first half.
Louisville was 0-and-4 vs ranked teams prior to today. The big difference against Cincy? Better defense as they held the Bearcats to 29 percent shooting. Louisville also dominated in the paint ... something it hadn't done previously against ranked foes.[+]
CARDINALS SOAR IN CINCY
Sean Kilpatrick could've used a little more help today as Cincinnati lost to Louisville. Although Kilpatrick didn't shoot well from the field (34.6 pct), the rest of the team combined to shoot just 23.3 percent.[+]
Bear of an Effort - Sean Kilpatrick vs Rest of Team Saturday
With his 10th point in Saturday's game against Louisville, Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick reached the 2,000-point plateau for his career. Kilpatrick joins Oscar Robertson as the only players in Bearcats history to score at least 2,000 points in a career. Robertson scored 2,973 points for Cincinnati from 1957-60.
ESPN Stats & Information