Sosa lifts Cards past UConn in final seconds

Edgar Sosa's basket just before the final buzzer gave Louisville (19-10, 10-6) a hard-earned 78-76 win over Connecticut Sunday afternoon at Gampel Pavilion. The Cardinals improved to 10-6 in league play with the win over the Huskies.

Edgar Sosa's driving layup in the final seconds gave Louisville a much needed 78-76 win over UConn Sunday afternoon on the road.

The win, Louisville's second over UConn this season, improved the Cardinals record to 19-10 overall on the season and 10-6 in the Big East. The Cardinals have only two regular season games left before post-season play begins – Tuesday at Marquette and Saturday vs. Syracuse in Freedom Hall's final game.

"We're proud of our guys," Rick Pitino said. "This is a special victory because it's not easy winning at Connecticut, at Syracuse, at West Virginia, at Pitt.

"We got such a big lift from so many different people."

After a Samardo Samuels free throw tied the game at 76 with 1:04 remaining, UConn had possession with a chance to take the lead. But the Cardinals came up with a huge defensive play as Kyle Kuric came up with a steal from Jerome Dyson. That setup Sosa's game-winner. After a Louisville timeout, the Cardinals senior guard drove to the basket and tossed in the winning basket with eight seconds remaining.

"It was a double screen high and then Edgar decides what he want to do," said Pitino. "He did the right thing."

UConn had one final chance to tie or win the game but Samuels blocked Kemba Walker's layup attempt and the Cardinals knocked away the loose ball as time ran out.

Though the Cardinals finished strong, they started slowly, falling behind by as many as 13 points in the first half. But Louisville received major contributions off the bench from Kuric and Peyton Siva, who both knocked down two first half three's. Kuric's three-pointer before the first half horn cut Uconn's lead to 45-40.

"I don't know why it is in basketball, but it's true in pro basketball as well as college - the team that goes out to that big lead, the other team always comes back," Pitino said.

Louisville started strong after halftime, scoring the first seven points of the second half while taking a 47-45 lead – their first lead of the game at that point. Samardo Samuels scored seven points early in the half and Jared Swopshire hit a pair of three-pointers to give UofL a 55-50 advantage with 16:13 remaining.

The Cardinals extended their lead to 66-59 on Peyton Siva's driving basket with 8:58 left and UofL led 68-61 after Samuels hit a pair of free throws. But a 10-0 run by UConn that was sparked by Dyson and Walker, helped the Huskies take a 71-68 advantage with 4:08 left.

Louisville re-took the lead 75-73 on Preston Knowles basket at 2:05. Kemba Walker's three-pointer put UConn ahead 76-75 with 1:39 remaining. Samuels tied the game with a free throw with 1:04 left to set up Sosa's game-winning basket.

Samuels led Louisville with 14 points, while Jerry Smith and Preston Knowles scored 12 apiece. Kyle Kuric chipped in 10 points, while Siva and Swopshire each contributed eight points.

UConn was paced by Kemba Walker's 28 points. Gavin Edwards added 17 points, while Stanley Robinson scored 14 points and Jerome Dyson had 13.

Louisville won the contest despite a 49-21 rebounding disadvantage on the backboards. Edwards and Robinson each had 13 rebounds for UConn, while Samuels led Louisville with seven rebounds.

"Generally when you're down 28-11 on the backboard you're probably down 20 (points). So we weathered a gigantic storm," Pitino said.

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