The Cardinals clamped down on the Redhawks, holding them to 37 percent shooting, and came up with some key stops late.
"I'm excited about this win as any I've had here," said UofL coach Rick Pitino, who is in his seventh season with the Cards. "Not our style (of game), it was their style, but we had to play terrific defense to win and I'm really proud of them. It was a great college basketball game."
Miami (OHIO) 47-44 Saturday.
Pitino praised the defense of Terrence Williams on Miami leading scorer Michael Bramos and the collective effort by the Cards to shut down one-man-wrecking-crew Tim Pollitz late in the game. Pollitz scored 18 points in the first half, but only four in the second, and the Cards kept him from taking a shot as UofL clung to a 45-44 lead in the final minute.
T-Will held Bramos, who came in averaging 24.4 points per game and had scored 30 and 36 in his last two games, to just five points on 2 of 9 shooting from the field.
"T-Will did a great job on their leading scorer," said Pitino, who moved within one win of 500 for his career with the victory. "What we tried to do tonight was not give him the attempt."
T-Will and Derrick Caracter each led Louisville with 12 point.
"I don't care if I score 0 and we win," said T-Will, who also grabbed seven rebounds. "As long as we win that's like a triple-double to me."
Earl Clark added 10 points and 11 rebounds and came up with two big blocks on Pollitz on a late possession.
"Today my shot wasn't falling, so I just tried to keeping playing and go hard," said Clark, who was 4 for 13 from the field. "(Pollitz) was tough. He had good moves, he was hooking a little bit, but I think he got away with it because he was so small."
Size didn't seem to matter in the first half when Pollitz, a 6-foot-5 senior forward put on a clinic of low-post moves and maneuvers. He scored 18 points – hitting all nine of Miami's first-half field goals – mostly against the 6-9 Caracter as the Redhawks led 22-21.
"Our goal was to make them play against five guys on defense," Miami coach Charlie Coles said. "As a team when you play a Rick Pitino team they love 4 on 2, 3 on 1 and that sort of things going down the other end. Our goal was, ‘Don't let them take the ball from us.'"
The pace was definitely more Miami than UofL - the Redhawks came in averaging 61 points per game compared to the Cards' 79.2. And it only continued in the second half.
T-Will scored seven quick points – on an alley-oop, a drive and dunk and a three-pointer – as No. 12 UofL (5-1) took a 28-25 lead early in the second half, but the two teams battled back-and-forth from there.
When Clark rebounded his own miss and put it back in with 2:28 to play it gave the Cards the lead for good.
Clark added another late basket, then kept Pollitz from getting off a shot with Louisville leading 45-44 in the final minute.
"They're a very good team, they turned it up defensively," Pollitz said.
Bramos missed a jumper with six seconds left, then Miami (3-3) was forced to foul. Edgar Sosa hit two free throws with three seconds left to preserve the victory.
"It was a tough game," Caracter said. "But playing BYU and all these different styles of basketball will probably help us further in the year in the NCAA Tournament."