Analysis: Cards outlast Pitt

Despite a sizable rebounding deficit, No. 17 Louisville (22-7, 10-6) made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off Pittsburgh for a 57-54 win Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center. Russ Smith led Louisville with 18 points, while Kyle Kuric bounced back from his poor showing at UC with 17 points on 4 of 7 shooting from deep. Here's instant analysis of the game.

Despite a sizable rebounding deficit, No. 17 Louisville (22-7, 10-6) made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off Pittsburgh for a 57-54 win Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center. Russ Smith led Louisville with 18 points, while Kyle Kuric bounced back from his poor showing at UC with 17 points on 4 of 7 shooting from deep. Here's instant analysis of the game:

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Ashton Gibbs' desperation three-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime clanked off the rim and into the arms of Louisville's Jared Swopshire.

KEY STATS: 18 and 13
Despite shooting just 38 percent, Louisville beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season because of their defense. The Cardinals held the Panthers to 41 percent shooting, but more importantly forced 18 turnovers, including 13 steals. Those turnovers provided much of Louisville's offense, as the Cards held a 20-6 advantage in points off turnovers late in the second half.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: After falling behind by five early in the second half because of stagnant offense, Russ Smith got things going for Louisville. The sophomore made five straight baskets during a four minute second half stretch that propelled Louisville from one down to a 44-40 advantage after his three-pointer with 9:23 left. Smith's pressure defense, resulting in four steals, also caused big problems for the Panthers guards.

BIG PLAY: After missing the front end of a one and one with :24 second remaining and clinging to a 53-52 lead, Chane Behanan grabbed the game's biggest rebound off Trevon Woodall's missed shot with :17 seconds. Behanan was then fouled and made two free throws to give the Cardinals a 55-52 lead with :13 seconds on the clock.

TURNING POINT: The turning point came during a 4:15 stretch from 11:46 - 7:31 left in the game. Locked in a tight affair, Louisville ripped off a 14-3 run to go from down 38-35 to ahead 49-41. Russ Smith scored nine of the 14 points, while Kuric contributed three points and an assist to Smith.

TOP RESERVE Russ Smith, again. Aside from Smith's 18 points, Louisville's other reserves failed to score. Smith played 26 minutes, while Jared Swopshire, Zach Price, Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware played just a combined 15 minutes against the Panthers.


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