Hancock and Smith Shine as Louisville Advances to NCAA Title Game
NCAA College Basketball
Luke Hancock and Russ Smith combined for 24 points in the second half to help No. 1 Louisville book a spot in the NCAA championship game with a come-from-behind 72-68 victory over ninth seed Wichita State Saturday at Georgia Dome.
Hancock poured 14 of his 20 points off the bench in the second half while Smith added 10 of his 21 as the Cardinals (34-5) overcame a 12-point deficit to make it to the title game for the first time since winning the crown in 1986.
The Cardinals will carry the momentum of their 15-game winning streak when they face the winner of the Syracuse-Michigan showdown for the national crown Monday.
Chane Behanan added 10 points and nine boards as the Cardinals drew inspiration from injured guard Kevin Ware, who joined the team on the bench despite undergoing surgery days earlier. Ware suffered a horrific leg injury against Duke in the Elite Eight.
Montrezl Harrell added eight points, Peyton Siva had seven and Tim Henderson added two big three-pointers that jumpstarted the Cardinals' comeback from a 47-35 deficit with 13 minutes left in the second half.
Cleanthony Early scored 24 points and grabbed 10 boards for the Shockers, who ended their season with a 30-9 record and made a mark in the tournament by beating No. 1 seed Gonzaga and Ohio State in the Elite Eight.
Carl Hall added 13 points while Ron Baker had 11 for the Shockers, whose bench players were outscored by their Cardinals counterparts, 34-9.
From a close 26-25 lead, the Shockers grabbed a 47-35 advantage behind six points from Early.
However, the Cardinals never backed down as Henderson buried two straight triples to cut the lead by half.
A layup by Hancock with 1:17 left put the Cardinals ahead, 67-62, but Early answered with a basket to trim the gap to three.
Smith sank three foul shots to give the Cardinals a 70-66 lead before Carl Hall brought the Shockers within two with a layup.
Hancock and Smith then split their charities for the final count.
Luke Hancock came off the bench to score 20 points, walk-on Tim Henderson sparked a second-half rally with a pair of monster 3s and Louisville advanced to the NCAA title game, escaping with a 72-68 victory over Wichita State Saturday night
Louisville vs. Wichita State 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
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