Cards sing the blues in St. Louis, 59-58
ST. LOUIS --AP-- Marque Perry scored six of his 25 points in the final 13 seconds, and maneuvered inside for the game-winning layup with 3.2 seconds to go as Saint Louis upset second-ranked Louisville 59-58 Wednesday night.
"We didn't execute down the stretch....and the breaks just didn't go our way," Cardinal Coach Rick Pitino said following the game.
The Billikens (9-12, 3-7) were coming off a pair of road losses to middle-of-the-road Conference USA teams, making them an unlikely team to put an end to the nation's longest winning streak. Louisville (18-2, 8-1 C-USA) had won 17 in a row since a two-point loss to Purdue on Nov. 30 in the second game of the season.
Reece Gaines scored a season-high 28 points for the Cardinals, who have been beating their opponents by an average of 19 points. That also was the margin of victory in the first meeting between the teams at Louisville on Jan. 11, a 73-54 victory.
This was by far the lowest scoring total for Louisville, which is averaging 84 points, and had no other players in double figures. Center Marvin Stone, averaging 13 points, was scoreless in 30 minutes.
Chris Sloan and Josh Fisher added 11 points apiece for Saint Louis, which despite its problems has won five of six in the series. Sloan had one of the big plays in the waning minutes with a steal and dunk that cut the gap to 57-54 with 50.8 seconds left.
Gaines' 3-pointer had given Louisville a 57-50 lead with 1:58 to go. But he struggled down the stretch, missing one of two free throws with 24.4 seconds to go and also being called for traveling and missing the front end of a bonus attempt in the final six minutes.
Perry scored on a drive and converted a three-point play with 13.2 seconds left to cut the gap to one. Then he tipped a long inbounds pass intended for Gaines to teammate Anthony Drejaj to set up the game-winner.
Gaines was hard off the backboard at the buzzer on a shot a few steps beyond the midcourt stripe.
Saint Louis led 26-24 at halftime at Louisville before collapsing. The Billikens were in front at the break of the rematch also, using their usual patient offense to grind out a 30-27 lead, and led by as many as six points in the opening minutes of the second half.
Louisville's start was the best for the school since 1955-56, when the Cardinals began the season 19-1 on the way to a 26-3 record and NIT championship. The school record for consecutive victories is 18 in a row by the 1979-80 NCAA champions.
The Cardinals had won 17 straight games before falling to the Billikins.
|#2 Louisville (18-2, 8-1)|
Blocked Shots: Garcia - 2, O'Bannon - 1, Whitehead - 1
Assists: Myles - 4, Gaines - 1, Garcia - 1, O'Bannon - 1
Turnovers: Gaines - 2, Stone - 1, Myles - 1
|Saint Louis Billikins (9-12, 3-7)|
Blocked Shots: Perry - 1
Assists: Fisher - 2, Ohanon - 1, Drejaj - 1, Perry - 1, Sloan - 1
Steals: Fisher - 1, Perry - 1, Sloan - 1
Turnovers: Perry - 2, Fisher - 1