Crump scored Tennessee's first two baskets of the game, then turned his ankle when he landed awkwardly after trying to block a shot. He went to the sidelines with UT leading 4-2 and never returned. His status for Tuesday night's game against Kentucky is still to be determined.
With Crump sidelined, 6-foot-10 sophomore Major Wingate stepped in and stepped up for the Vols. Louisville led 38-31 with 1:12 to go in the half, then C.J. Watson scored on a steal and drive. Chris Lofton was fouled with one-half second on the clock, and Pitino was hit with a technical for arguing too vehemently. Lofton promptly hit all four foul shots, closing the gap to 38-37 at the break.
Lofton, a Kentucky native from Maysville, led UT with 12 first-half points. The Cardinals would limit him to one-of-six shooting in the second half, however.
Lofton's only bucket of the final 20 minutes was a 3-pointer that gave Tennessee its short-lived 53-50 lead. The game was all Louisville thereafter.
Larry O'Bannon tied the game with a 3-pointer. Ellis Myles hit a 10-footer to give Louisville the lead for good at 55-53, then Francisco Garcia took control of the game. Forcing UT into turnover after turnover, he hit a driving layup, a 3-pointer and three transition layups as Louisville outscored Tennessee 35-9 over the game's final 13 minutes.
''We just got gassed there late,'' Vol coach Buzz Peterson said on his post-game show. ''When you take quick shots -- as we did there at the end -- you just add fuel to the fire.''
The UT skipper conceded that his team's first 27 minutes were outstanding but added: ''Everything just sort of caved in on us there at the end.''
Lofton scored 15 points, C.J. Watson 14 and Wingate 13 for UT, now 10-8. Vol wing Scooter McFadgon had an unusually poor game, hitting just 2 of 7 floor shots for 4 points.
Garcia produced 20 points and O'Bannon 15 for Louisville, now 16-3.
Tennessee shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but wilted in the face of Louisville's defensive pressure and shot just 33 percent in the second half. The Vols made just 4 of 15 tries from 3-point range and finished with 18 turnovers.
Louisville, hitting a stream of transition layups down the stretch, shot 69 percent (20 of 29) in the second half and finished at 56 percent for the game.
Tennessee hosts Kentucky Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.