Cards fail to exorcise Demons

Louisville fails to capitalize in regulation and falls to Conference USA rival DePaul 79-76 in overtime.

ROSEMONT, IL - Drake Diener scored 7 of his 9 points in overtime, including a 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining, to lead the DePaul Blue Demons past Louisville 79-76 in overtime here Wednesday night. The win snapped DePaul's 13-game losing streak in the series and was their first win over Louisville since a non-conference matchup in February 1995.

That 1995 game had a controversial ending as Louisville was called for fouling a 3-point shooter at the end of the game on a made shot. DePaul won that game by 1 point after making the free throw to complete a 4-point play.

Tonight's ending was equally bizarre and frustrating for the Cardinals. After trailing much of the second half, Louisville took a 2-point lead on a 3-pointer by freshman Taquan Dean with 5.3 seconds remaining in regulation. DePaul drove the length of the court and got the ball to Diener, who drove the lane for a 10-foot attempt that fell short of the rim. Louisville's Luke Whitehead was whistled for a foul on the rebound with 0:00 remaining. DePaul's Sam Hoskin made both free throws to tie the game at 67-67 and force overtime.

Louisville trailed for most of the overtime period after DePaul won the tip and Diener made a 3-pointer within 12 seconds. Louisville turned a 74-71 deficit into a 76-74 lead on 3 of 4 free throws by Reece Gaines and a field goal by Erik Brown. That field goal came with 1:52 remaining and proved to be Louisville's last points.

DePaul scored the final 5 points of the game on a pair of free throws sandwiched around Diener's 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining. Following a Louisville timeout, Dean drove for a 10-foot attempt that drew iron but missed. Marvin Stone followed with an offensive rebound shot that was hard off the glass. Kendall Dartez gave Louisville one final chance to tie with another rebound shot, but the ball bounced off the rim and DePaul rebounded.

Louisville's three-point shooting was ineffective in the first half as DePaul built a 32-28 lead. Louisville made only 1 of 12 shots from 3-point range in the half. Erik Brown had a productive first half with 11 points, but no other player scored more than 5 points before halftime. Francisco Garcia was limited to 4 minutes in the first half because of 2 quick fouls.

Louisville held DePaul without a field goal for nearly eight minutes early in the first half to build a 20-11 lead. At that point, the Blue Demons tightened their defense on Louisville's outside shooters while denying the ball inside. The defensive emphasis guided DePaul to a 19-4 run for a 30-24 lead. Louisville never led by more than 4 points the rest of the game.

Louisville committed 29 fouls in the game, including 5 on made field goals, sending DePaul to the free throw line 30 times, where they converted 24. Louisville was 11-of-16 on free throws.

After all the anticipation surrounding Stone's return to the lineup following eligibility concerns, the senior responded with a 4-point, 6-rebound performance, falling short of his season average in both categories. The 6-11 senior center had been expected to help take up the slack for forward Ellis Myles, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

When asked about Whitehead's foul at the end of regulation, Louisville coach Rick Pitino responded, "I'm sure he did push him. I asked the official to review it and he said he couldn't."

Pitino went on to say, "We played our ass off tonight and did some good things on the press. They just dominated us on the boards. Reece Gaines played too many minutes and got gassed. It wasn't our offense that was the problem tonight, it was our rebounding. Ellis (Myles) would not have let that happen."

When asked about the affect of the loss on his team's confidence, Taquan Dean said, "This loss isn't going to hurt my confidence but I don't know about the rest of the guys on the team. We've still got a lot to look forward to this season."

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