Aggressive Louisville Wins National Title over Michigan, 82-76
After a thrilling first half, every shot, pass and dribble within the arc in the second half seemed as hard fought as Chane Behanan's pictured dunk through Tim Hardaway. During their 20-game streak to close the season that including 19 wins and one loss in six overtimes, Louisville has often played a team close or even fallen behind in the first half before destroying them down the stretch. And while Michigan was too good to destroy, Louisville took control in the final 17 minutes after Rick Pitino called timeout with his team down 46-42.
Louisville's pressure started to show results, but at a cost as all three players in the back court--Peyton Siva, Luke Hancock and Russ Smith--had three fouls by the time they had a 56-52 lead at the 12-minute timeout. However, the Cards played so well they won despite Russ Smith having one of those games, going three for 16 with three turnovers, to defeat Michigan 82-76.
Chane Behanan matched McGary’s physical play, taking the ball right at him to draw a foul and hit a free throw to cut the lead to 46-43. Siva came up with a steal, and then a defensive rebound in the next couple of minutes, driving through the entire Michigan defense to make it 46-45 with 15:45, then Gorgui Dieng found Behanan with a beautiful high pass a few seconds later to finally give Louisville the lead 47-46.
Russ Smith finally hit a 3-pointer with 13:28 to go to make it 52-47.
With 6:27 to go, Hancock put up an alley-oop from almost half court that the 6-foot Siva slammed home 67-62. Dieng hit two jumpers to make it 73-65, then Hancock hit a 3-pointer to make it 76-66. Burke kept going to the hoop and Michigan cut the lead to four once after that (78-74 with 1:20 to play), but could get no closer.