MILWAUKEE (AP) -- When the Louisville Cardinals found themselves
down by 11 points to Marquette with 5:38 left, they didn't think of
turning to their prolific offense to bail them out of another
"We had to win this game with defense, not offense," Cardinals
coach Rick Pitino said after Francisco Garcia's 3-pointer with 2.6
seconds left capped a 14-0 run that gave Louisville a 64-61 win
The Cardinals clamped down on the Golden Eagles, who turned the
ball over once and missed three free throws, three 3-pointers, a
jumper and two layups on their final nine possessions.
"We just kept digging in on defense," said Garcia, who scored
16 of his 18 points in the second half, helping the 12th-ranked
Cardinals avoid their second loss in three games.
Travis Diener's 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
"You couldn't ask for a better shot, I just missed it, missed
it bad. It was the story of my night," said Diener, who also
clanked two layups off the rim in the final minutes, finishing
2-for-16 from the floor in what the senior called his worst
"They played good defense and we missed some layups. I missed
some layups. I'm supposedly the best player on the floor. I should
be able to make layups."
The Golden Eagles tried to run the shot clock down in the final
5 minutes, and they ended up with hurried shots instead of good
"It's feast or famine sometimes when you do that," Pitino
After Louisville (22-4, 10-2 Conference USA) tied it at 61,
Garcia turned over the ball to Todd Townsend with 47 seconds left.
Joe Chapman missed a hurried 3-pointer just before the shot
clock went off and Ellis Myles grabbed the rebound for Louisville
with 13 seconds left.
The Cardinals didn't call timeout, setting up a screen that left
Garcia open for a 3-pointer.
"I was looking to create, but if they gave me the green light,
I was going to shoot," he said.
After two timeouts, Diener got the ball just past midcourt and
had an off-balance shot at overtime, but it banged off the rim.
Steve Novak's 14 points led Marquette (17-8, 5-7), which was in
prime position to secure a confidence-building upset against a team
that handed the Golden Eagles their worst loss ever -- 99-52 last
month when Diener was sidelined by a foot injury.
Marquette seemingly had the game in hand after Diener sank two
of three free throws and then fed Novak for a 3-pointer on the
break that gave Marquette a 61-50 lead.
The Cardinals scored seven straight points, then Larry O'Bannon,
who scored 15, was fouled by Chapman with 1:37 left. As he sank his
drawing a foul himself.
After O'Bannon sank his second shot, George stepped up and sank
two of his own, tying it at 61.
"That call at the end of the game on the push-off was costly,
(but) it was the right call," said Marquette coach Tom Crean, who
looked at the tape right when he got into the locker room.
"Let's face it, the momentum swing at the end with the free
throws is what made this a game."
But it was his team's close call that left Crean with at least
"The best thing about tonight is our team realized that the
game down in Louisville was a complete aberration," he said.
- Jim Burr
- Tim Higgins
- John Higgins