Despite improved play during the second half, Louisville came just short of snapping its losing skid and lost to the Bearcats 66-61 in overtime.
As the 10th-ranked Cardinals tipped it off against the 14th-ranked Bearcats, they opened the game in a similar fashion that has been seen recently as they have lost four of their last five. Cincinnati, who had lost four of their last six, jumped out early 9-2.
Louisville, which once again wore their black uniforms, quickly responded with an 11-1 run to take a 12-10 advantage, but the Cardinals wouldn't muster much offensive output for the remainder of the half.
While U of L's offensive struggles continued, its defensive pressure increased, forcing multiple turnovers by the home Bearcats.
Both teams combined to shoot a dismal 22.8% from the field during the first half, which led to low-scoring first half, as Cincinnati took a 20-15 lead at the break.
The Cardinals, which were led by Francisco Garcia's seven first half points, connected on just 6 of 29 shot attempts, including just 2 of 11 from behind the three-point arc. Louisville had three stretches of more than 4:30 minutes during the first half in which they failed to score a basket from the field, including the final 5:17.
The Bearcats managed to hit just 7 of 28 first half field goal attempts and only 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Louisville's offensive struggles continued at the start of the second half, but when Taquan Dean connected on his third three-pointer of the game, it pulled the Cardinals within 24-20 at the 16:34 mark.
With Cincinnati leading 28-20, Louisville's Garcia scored five straight points on a layup and a three-pointer from the top of the key to pull the Cardinals within 28-25 and force Bearcat head coach Bob Huggins to call a timeout with 13:10 remaining in the game. Two free throws by Garcia pulled U of L within one at 28-27 just a minute later.
Cincinnati's Field Williams had a four-point play moments later when he was fouled by Alhaji Mohammed after draining a three-pointer, giving Cincinnati a 32-27 advantage.
The Bearcats Tony Bobbitt then hit his first three-pointer of the afternoon pushing the home teams lead to 37-30 with 9:50 left in the contest.
When Garcia connected on his fourth three-pointer of the game, his third of the second half, it brought the Cardinals within 46-42 with five minutes left in the contest. An Otis George dunk narrowed the margin to 46-44, forcing the Bearcats to call a thirty second timeout with four minutes left.
Garcia scored and was fouled on a fast break layup and when the sophomore converted the free throw, it brought the visiting Cardinals within 48-47.
Larry O'Bannon, who had struggled from the floor throughout the game, drained two free throws with :56 seconds remaining to give the Cardinals its first lead since early in the first half at 51-50.
Cincinnati's Maxiell gave the home team the lead back at 52-51 with :35 seconds remaining in the contest. However, a Nate Daniels three-pointer, off an assist from Garcia, gave the lead back to the Cardinals at 54-52 with :16 seconds remaining.
A deep two-pointer by Field Williams at the buzzer evened the score at 54-54 to send the two rivals into an overtime period.
Louisville shot 50% from the field during the second half, while the Bearcats converted just 36% of their second half shot attempts.
After 1:30 of scoreless action both teams started to find the basket. A three-pointer by Garcia gave the Cardinals a 58-56 lead. However that was short lived, as Cincinnati's Eric Hicks gave the home team the lead back at 59-56 following a made free throw with 2:00 left.
A three-pointer by Bobbitt pushed the Bearcats lead to 62-58 with 1:50 left.
Trailing 64-61 with :27 seconds left, the Bearcats Tony Bobbitt converted two free throws to secure the 66-61 victory.
Cincinnati (18-5; 9-3), who had four players score in double figures, was led by Field Williams 18 points. Louisville was led by Garcia's 27 points.
The Cardinals (17-6; 7-5) will return to action on Wednesday, when they welcome Conference USA rival DePaul to Freedom Hall.