Key three sparked renewed 'D' to mount comeback

04/06/2013 11:09 PM

(WITH VIDEO) — The Cards ended Wichita State’s season Saturday, but not with the same relentless and disruptive defense Louisville used to demoralize their four previous NCAA Tournament foes.

No, this time, they needed a couple well-timed dramatic shots to jump-start their adrenaline on the defensive end of the court. That allowed them to snatch the game away from the Shockers over the last three minutes for a 72-68 win and a date with Michigan in Monday’s National Championship.

The Shockers had taken a 12-point lead with 13:25 to go in the game. But reserve guard Tim Henderson hit a three in the corner in front of the Louisville bench to cut the lead to 47-38. Perhaps, most importantly, it seemed to get the crowd and the rest of the team back in the game.

Still, on the next possession, Gorgui Dieng picked up his fourth foul, sending him to the bench. A missed free-throw gave UofL the ball back, and again Henderson nailed a three.

An effective press re-emerged and confounded Wichita State enough for Shockers Coach Gregg Marshall to call a time out. Luke Hancock entered the game

Louisville used that bench-fueled comeback to topple the Shockers and reach their first National Championship game since they won it all in 1986.

“It kind of feels like Syracuse all over again in the Big East (Tournament),” Stephan Van Treese said. “Just the way our team came together with Tim, and Chane and Luke.”

Van Treese was the only player off the bench who didn’t take a shot. But Pitino singled him out as well for setting key screens in the second half.

Pitino also explained why he never thinks the Cards are going to lose anymore, while the players talked about what finally went well for them in the second half:

Wichita State’s coach credited Louisville for simply outlasting the Shockers at the end, even though their approach kept them out of too much trouble with the press.

“We had 11 turnovers. So that’s not bad,” Marshall said. “…They go real hard for a long time.”

- Video produced by Bradley McKee and Kenny Stevenson


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