Louisville Blows by Duke to Second Straight Final Four Appearance
NCAA College Basketball
Russ Smith scored 23 points and Gorgui Dieng racked up 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Louisville Cardinals overcame a gruesome injury to guard Kevin Ware to beat the Duke Blue Devils, 85-53, in their Midwest Regional Final showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Rick Pitino and the Cardinals are back in the Final Four, though they needed an inspiration from a wounded player to shake off the Devils for good.
Ware, who scored 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting against the Oregon Ducks in their Sweet 16 matchup, suffered a broken fibula after he contested a shot by Tyler Thornton and landed awkwardly, causing a portion of his bone to pop out of its skin.
Louisville and Duke players could not believe what they saw, prompting officials to halt the game until Ware was taken out of the floor.
But before Ware left, the 6-foot-2 guard gave some words of encouragement for his teammates, asking them to beat Duke and advance to the Final Four in Atlanta, where he played his entire high school career.
The Cardinals then turned a 35-32 halftime lead into a blowout, thanks to a 51-point explosion in the second half.
Duke's offense ground to a halt, with Seth Curry (12 points) and Mason Plumlee (17) having a hard time putting the ball into the basket.
The Blue Devils shot 36.5 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from the three-point line.
Pitino, making his seventh appearance in the Final Four, will have to prepare his team for a tougher grind as they take on the Shockers of Wichita State in the semifinals at Georgia Dome on April 6.
Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, and Louisville put aside the shock from Kevin Ware's gruesome leg injury to earn a second straight trip to the Final Four with an 85-63 victory over Duke.
Louisville vs. Duke highlights
- Rutgers Negotiating Eddie Jordan for Head Coaching Vacancy
- Yale Wins First NCAA National Hockey Title
- Michigan Survives Late Syracuse Rally
- Hancock and Smith Shine as Louisville Advances to NCAA Title Game
- Rutgers President Under Scrutiny for Handling of Ex-Basketball Coach
- Richard Pitino to Coach Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Louisville Guard Kevin Ware Undergoes Successful Leg Surgery
- Louisville Blows by Duke to Second Straight Final Four Appearance
- Nik Stauskas Lifts Michigan to Final Four for First Time in 20 Years
- Wichita State Shocks Ohio State, Dances into Final Four
- Syracuse Shuts Down Marquette, 55-39
- UCLA Hires Coach Steve Alford Away from New Mexico
- Florida Ends Florida Gulf Coasts's Cinderella Run
- Florida Outhustles Florida Gulf Coast
- Russ Smith Scores 31 as Louisville Ousts Oregon
- Michigan Caps Comeback with OT Victory over Kansas
- Seth Curry Leads Duke Past Michigan State
- Basketball Head Coach Brad Stevens Staying at Butler
- UCLA Said to be Targeting Butler Coach Brad Stevens
- Michael Carter-Williams Stars as Syracuse Upsets Top Seed Indiana
- LaQuinton Ross Trey Lifts Ohio State Past Arizona, into Elite Eight
- Marquette Dominates Miami in Sweet 16
- Wichita State Cruises Past La Salle
- Florida Gulf Coast Trying to Stay Focused
- Florida Gulf Coast Coach Enfield Denies Having Vast Wealth
- Cowboys Stadium to Host 2015 BCS Football Title Game
- 2013 NCAA Tournament Photo Reflections
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