No. 11 Louisville snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the final minute, despite a 48-20 disadvantage on the backboard. The Cardinals, which finished the regular-season 23-8 overall and 12-6 in the league play, will be the No. 3-seed in next week's Big East Tournament.
Louisville appeared ready to close out their fifth straight win after Chris Smith made two free throws to give the Cardinals a, 69-64, lead with :25 seconds remaining.
Cruising toward the winner's circle? West Virginia's Casey Mitchell wasn't ready to surrender to the Cards.
After Smith's foul shots put UofL ahead five, Mitchell buried a three-pointer with :19 seconds left to quickly cut the Cardinals advantage to 69-67.
Peyton Siva then made 1 of 2 free throws with :17 seconds remaining to give Louisville a three-point lead at 70-67. Mitchell, though, made his second three-pointer in a row to tie the game at 70 with :10 seconds left.
Louisville had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Preston Knowles' three-point attempt bounced off the rim as time was running out.
Overtime here we come. Wrong.
West Virginia's Darryl Bryant rebounded Knowles' miss, turned upcourt with time running out, and, with 0.6 on the clock was fouled by Knowles. Bryant made both free throws and West Virginia escaped with an improbable win over Louisville.
Kyle Kuric paced Louisville with 21 points, making 5 of 6 three-pointers. Knowles added 15 points, while Chris Smith scored 14 points.
The biggest story of the game, other than West Virginia's late rally, was the rebounding differential. The Mountaineers simply pounded Louisville on the boards, out-rebounding Pitino's squad by 28. Bob Huggins' troops had a 24-5 advantage on the offensive boards, and converted many of those boards into second chance points.