Bearcats Win BIG EAST Opener Over Cards|
Jan. 1, 2008
Jerry Smith led the Cardinals with 17 points and David Padgett added 13 points and four rebounds in his return from a fractured kneecap, but Edgar Sosa's 18-footer with two seconds left was partially blocked and Terrence Williams' tip-in bounced out at the buzzer as the Bearcats (6-7, 1-0 Big East) snapped Louisville's four-game winning streak.
The victory was the first for Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin - a former Louisville assistant under Rick Pitino - over his mentor.
Neither team led by more than six, as the two longtime enemies played with the typical physical intensity that has marked their rivalry over the years.
Padgett, who fractured his kneecap on Nov. 18, did his best to give the Cardinals (9-4, 0-1) a lift before Saturday's showdown with Kentucky.
He hit a runner that gave the Cardinals a 57-56 lead with 1:47 remaining. Vaughn answered with two free throws, and the Bearcats got a crucial stop when Williams missed a jumper with 42 seconds left.
Vaughn, however, lost the ball driving to the basket and Smith came up with it.
The Cardinals called time-out and Sosa got the ball at the top of the key. He drove to his right and pulled up from 18 feet. The shot fell short, but Williams leapt from under the basket and tried to flip it up only to have it bounce out as time expired.
The Bearcats shot 47 percent from the field and were 8-of-14 from 3-point range to overcome 16 turnovers. Marvin Gentry added 10 points for the Bearcats, who answered every time the Cardinals appeared to be ready to take over the game.
Padgett entered the game to a rousing ovation less than two minutes in, and his presence gave the Cardinals an immediate lift.
Louisville reeled off eight straight points once Padgett checked in, as their press rattled the Bearcats.
Cincinnati, however, kept its composure, eventually taking a 30-26 halftime lead behind some hot 3-point shooting. Gentry and Jamual Warren hit consecutive 3-pointers during a 10-3 run that gave the Bearcats the lead, and Marcus Sikes hit a difficult 3-pointer as the shot clock expired at the end of the half.