Louisville pulled off the unexpected.
The Cardinals, who had lost six of their last seven games, turned back Kentucky’s rally in the final minutes to stun the fourth-ranked Wildcats 79-76 on Saturday in Lexington, Ky.
“I knew this was a rivalry game and I knew we’d come in and play hard,” said forward Eric Johnson, who made all three of his 3-point attempts in finishing with 20 points.
“We were going to be happy no matter who we beat. Maybe it was a little sweeter because it was Kentucky.”
Louisville (4-6), which turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, played a near-flawless floor game in the final 20 minutes. The Cardinals committed just five turnovers and hit 7 of 10 shots from 3-point range.
“A victory here is as good a victory as you can get because it’s so hard to win here,” Louisville coach Denny Crum said of playing in Rupp Arena, where the Wildcats had won 39 consecutive nonconference games.
Louisville also hit Kentucky with a matching zone defense, which held the Wildcats to just 38 percent (27 of 72) shooting, including 22 percent (5 of 23) on 3-point attempts.
“You have to compliment Louisville on its game plan today,” Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. “We just got outworked today in certain situations. We didn’t adjust in the second half and had some major breakdowns defensively. We gave up too many easy baskets.”
Nate Johnson hit a free throw with 14.8 seconds left for Louisville’s final point, ending the Wildcats’ eight-game winning streak.
Johnson went to the line after being fouled by Jeff Sheppard while retrieving a rebound of Cameron Murray’s missed shot. Johnson missed the first attempt, then calmly sank the second for a three-point lead.
Kentucky (10-2), which trailed by nine points with 2:23 left, called a timeout before its last possession. The Wildcats worked the ball around the perimeter, with Scott Padgett missing a 22-footer that was rebounded by Louisville’s Alex Sanders as time ran out.
It marked Louisville’s first victory in Rupp Arena since 1989, and only the second over the Wildcats in the last eight meetings.
(1) N. Carolina 82, Georgia 80 (OT)
At Athens, Ga., the Tar Heels (13-0) overcame an 8-point deficit in the final 3 minutes of regulation, then defeated the Bulldogs (8-4) when Vince Carter scored from underneath the basket with 3.2 seconds left in overtime.
Georgia had a chance to tie it with 1.4 seconds to go, but freshman Jumaine Jones - the team’s best free-throw shooter - missed a pair of free throws, the second one intentionally.
(6) Utah 66, Wis.-Milwaukee 51
At Milwaukee, Michael Doleac, Andre Miller and Hanno Mottola scored 14 points each as the Utes (11-0) rallied from a six-point second-half deficit to defeat the Panthers (1-9).
The Utes made it an enjoyable homecoming for coach Rick Majerus, who grew up in Milwaukee and played and coached at Marquette with Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Ric Cobb.
(7) Purdue 81, Providence 79
At West Lafayette, Ind., Jaraan Cornell scored 21 points and Brian Cardinal added 20 as the Boilermakers (11-2) slipped by the Friars (4-4).
A driving layup by Cardinal with 31 seconds left broke a 79-all tie and won the game for the Boilermakers.
The game was tied four times in the final 2:20.
(8) Stanford 95, Lehigh 42
At Stanford, Calif., Peter Sauer scored 18 points, helping the Cardinal (9-0) build a 30-point halftime lead en route to victory over the Engineers (5-5).
Ryan Mendez had 13 points and Kris Weems and Tim Young each had 12 as Stanford won its 17th straight at Maples Pavilion. All 14 players on Stanford’s roster saw playing time.
(9) UCLA 65, UNLV 57
At Las Vegas, Nev., the Bruins (8-1) held a double-digit lead throughout most of the game, before the Rebels (5-5) drew as close as 6 points in the final minute.
(13) Xavier 73, DePaul 56
At Cleveland, Darnell Williams scored 21 points and the Musketeers (7-2) overcame a lackluster performance to defeat the Blue Demons (3-7) in the opener of the Gatorade Rock-n-Roll Shootout.
The Musketeers, coming off an 86-84 loss to Purdue, won easily even though their trademark, helter-skelter press took the night off.
Torraye Braggs had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Gary Lumpkin had 14 points and seven assists. Jermaine Watts led the Blue Demons with 21 points, and point guard Willie Coleman had 14.
(18) Princeton 61, Niagara 52
At New York, Princeton made 15 of 32 3-point attempts after going 4 for 25 the night before, and tournament MVP Brian Earl scored 14 points as the Tigers (10-1) defeated the Purple Eagles (3-6) to win the ECAC Holiday Festival.
St. John’s defeated Drexel 75-46 in the third-place game.
(20) Maryland 74, UNC-Wilm. 36
At College Park, Md., Rodney Elliott scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Terrapins (7-4) routed the Seahawks (5-6), giving coach Gary Williams his 150th victory with Maryland.
Williams, in his ninth season at Maryland, became the third-winningest coach in school history behind Lefty Driesell (348 wins in 17 seasons) and Bud Millikan (243 wins in 17 seasons).
(23) W. Virginia 90, Duquesne 78
At Morgantown, W.Va., Jarrod West hit two 3-pointers to key a 19-7 run that lifted the Mountaineers (11-1) past the Dukes (5-6).
Damian Owens led the Mountaineers with 21 points, 14 in the second half. Adrian Pledger added 16 and Marcus Goree had 13.
Long Beach St. 81, USC 71
At Long Beach, Calif., Andrew Betts scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the 49ers (4-6) over the Trojans (4-5).
Southern California led 46-38 at halftime before the 49ers rallied in the second half, shooting 61.5 percent from the field. USC, meanwhile, made 36.7 percent of its shots in the second half.
Adam Spanich led the Trojans with 19 points, including five of seven 3-pointers.
Arizona St. 111, La Salle 78
At Tempe, Ariz., Bobby Lazor scored 24 points as the Sun Devils (9-3) routed the Explorers (3-4) in the first round of the Tribune Classic, handing LaSalle its worst loss in 15 years.
The Sun Devils, who extended their homecourt winning streak to eight games, will face Eastern Michigan in the championship game tonight. Eastern Michigan defeated Boston 72-69 in the other first-round game.
Texas Tech 99, Nevada 94 (OT)
At Reno, Nev., Cory Carr scored 31 points and the Red Raiders (5-4) overcame a 17-point halftime deficit to defeat the Wolf Pack (4-4).
Rayford Young had a career-high 28 points and eight assists for Texas Tech, including two free throws with 4.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 72 and send the game into overtime.
Paul Culbertson scored 22 points and David Morgan and Robin Kennedy had 20 each for Nevada.
Santa Barbara 87, St. Mary’s 66
At Santa Barbara, Calif., Josh Merrill tied his career high with 20 points to lead the Gauchos (3-6) over the Gaels (4-6).
David Sivulich led St. Mary’s with 19 points.
Raymond Tutt had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for UCSB.
Utah St. 71, Weber St. 65
At Logan, Utah, Kevin Rice scored 18 points and Marcus Saxon 16 for the Aggies (7-3) in their victory over the in-state rival Wildcats (2-8).
Utah State attempted 33 free throws. Weber State shot 10.
Wis.-GB 70, CSU Fullerton 60
At Green Bay, Wis., reserve forward Pete Wade scored 12 points to lead Wisconsin-Green Bay (6-4) over the Titans (5-4).
Fullerton was led by 13 points from Chris Dade. The Titans, who were averaging 78.3 points per game coming in, were held to 27 first-half points by the Phoenix.
Montana 69, San Jose St. 39
At San Jose, Calif., J.R. Camel scored 13 points to lead three Montana players in double figures as the Grizzlies (6-6) hammered the Spartans (2-7).
Ryan Dick scored 12 points and Bob Olson added 10 for Montana, which has won two consecutive games for the first time this season.
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