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Louisville 76, Connecticut 69

Brief Summary

Louisville scored on its final eight possesssions to top Connecticut 76-69 and win its fifth straight.

Terrence Williams stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and committed no turnovers while playing all 40 minutes for the Cardinals.

Things looked bleak early as U of L hit just five of its first 14 shots, and was being outrebounded 10-2, but the game turned around when Derrick Caracter entered at the 15:37 mark to replace David Padgett who had accumulated a pair of fouls.

Caracter took the game over, refusing to be intimidated by 13-foot-five freshman Hasheem Thabeet, and scoring all of his 16 points in the opening 20 minutes. The Huskies went the final 6:31 of the half without a bucket, and Louisville led 36-29 at the break.

The Cards opened up an 11-point lead midway through the second half, but Jerome Dyson and Jeff Adrien refused to let the visistors run away. Dyson, who finished with a game-high 23 points on 6-of-8 shooting from three, drilled a trey with 4:02 left that tied the game at 58.

From this point on Louisville did not miss and outscored the Huskies 16-9 to bring yet another road win back to the Derby City.  

Player of the Game

Terrence Williams.

T-Will forced a couple of threes early, but after Pitino let him know that was something the "old T-Will" would do, Williams played with the poise and maturity Cardinal fans have come to expect from "new T-Will."

After Dyson's three tied the game with four minutes left, it was Williams who immediately silenced a standing crowd at the Hartford Civic Center with a pure mid-range jumper. It was Williams who then followed that with assists to Earl Clark for a three and Brandon Jenkins for a lay-up on the Cards' next two possessions.

"At the beginning of the year when everybody told me I was the captain or leader, I felt I needed to shoot a lot and score a lot and shoot threes," Williams said. "But now I learned that being a leader is getting everybody else going, contributing around and getting rebounds and assists at crucial times. And that's what I changed my game to do."

Play of the Game

Edgar Sosa's left corner three-pointer that put Louisville ahead 68-63 with 1:20 remaining.

After Connecticut scored to cut the lead to two the home crowd again rose to its feet hoping they could help prevent the Cards from answering yet again, but the freshman point guard's three late in the shot clock took all the wind out of the arena and the home team.

"When (Sosa) hit last three, it took a little bit out of us," Dyson said. "We couldn't find the stops we needed."

Sosa finished the game with just five points, but dished out four assists and didn't commit a turnover in 23 minutes.

Unexpected Awesome Play of the Game

Several contenders here (Farley catch and lay-up, McGee three during Uconn's second half run), but I'm going to have to go with the early Perrin Johnson three. Amazingly, and kind of awesomely, Perrin Johnson had our only triple of the first half.

Notable and Quotable

Rick Pitino:

"I think we're in. There has never been an 11-4 team not get in to the NCAA coming out of the Big East."

"We have made up our minds that he's (Derrick Caracter) either going to be a player, or he's got to pack it in and go home. Never once did he say, 'I'm going to leave,'.... He just kept saying, 'I'm wrong, this is the place for me. I'm sticking it out.' He's never once wavered on that. That's why he's here today."

"He's (Caracter) always taken the easy way out in everything he's done in high school. If a coach got on him or there was something wrong, he'd transfer schools. He said he's sticking it out. He never once wavered on that, and that's why he's here today. He's had more latitude, more rope than 50 players I've coached, but because of the fact he's stayed totally loyal and he owns up to certain things, I said we're going to be loyal to him."

"They (Louisville) looked like a hell of a basketball team tonight."

"We all know that these guys are going to be terrific one day, but it's not today. They're just getting better and better and better, they're competing hard and we all know they're going to be much, much better next year. So it's tough sometimes."

Terrence Williams:

"The crowd goes crazy. I just told everyone to be confident and patient about situations. If we get good ball movement, no matter how loud the crowd is, we're going to make shots."

"There were some words he said to me, so I said some words to him (Uconn forward Marcus Johnson). He's my position, so I said, `OK, we'll see if you guard me.' But whatever is going on with his program, he didn't play that much. ... I'm always going to defend my team. There were words said to me - a few words that don't need to be [repeated]. It won't happen again. We won."

"It was little cliques. Now it's 16 guys that do everything together. Everybody does everything."

"You see a team growing up. When people wrote us out of the tournament with six weeks to go in the season, it lit a fire under us. When we were hurt, a lot of people didn't see that. They said Louisville's a football school or whatever. Now everybody loves Coach P again. I felt disrespected when they looked at this man like he hasn't taken three teams to the Final Four. But now you don't hear nothing at all."

Jim Calhoun

"Eight straight times they got the ball, eight straight times they scored. And that was the ball game. It's really unfortunate."

"People that were helping thought they had done their one job, and we have two jobs to do -- get your (butt) back out to the 3-point shooters and we never did."

"The bottom line is that we didn't execute coming down, and they executed greatly. All we had to do really, the last four minutes to have a chance of winning this game ... was play defense, even 50 percent of the time."

"For 28 games, I've seen them miss shots, but I've pretty consistently seen them play defense. And all we had to do the last four minutes to have a chance to win this game is play defense."

Jeff Adrien

"We were right there. Just got to make a couple of stops. They kept [the ball] ahead of the defense. Good coaches and good players do that kind of stuff."

AJ Price

"It's almost kind of methodical how they run their offense. They stay in the motion and run it through every time."