There’s one very lucky male cheerleader in Louisville right now. As time was expiring in overtime of #16 Louisville’s 62-59 victory over #4 Pittsburgh, Cardinals forward Kyle Kuric decided to put the exclamation point on the game with an emphatic yet unnecessary two-handed slam to make the score 62-57 which sent the crowd at the KFC Yum! Center into a frenzy. The issue however, was that there was still 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock. At that point, a Louisville male cheerleader stormed the court in celebration, picked up the game ball and tossed it into the air. The result was a technical foul that gave a sliver of hope to the Panthers and subsequently made a cheerleader who was the size of a house feel like the size of an ant. Aston Gibbs made his two free throws but Pitt failed to convert on the desperation heave at the end of OT.
Kuric was involved in the last play of regulation as well when the Cardinals had possession of the ball under the Pitt basket with 2.4 seconds remaining. Kuric freed himself via a great slip cut and caught the ball under the basket. All video replays indicated that Kuric was mauled by Pitt defenders and should have went to the free throw line but his shot was deflected and the game had to be played for an extra five minutes.
The Cardinals made Pitt play from behind all game, which rooted from an atrocious first half of shooting by the Panthers. Louisville’s stingy defense forced Pitt to shoot only 26% from the field in the first half resulting in a halftime score of 31-22 in favor of Louisville.
Pitt stormed back in the second half and kept things relatively even for the duration of the game but Louisville’s patented tendency to mix up their defenses confused the Panthers offense enough to cause 15 turnovers and create numerous opportunities for fast break points. A clutch jump shot by Pittsburgh guard Brad Wanamaker in the closing seconds of regulation tied the game at 56. Wanamaker had 13 points, 11 coming in the second half while contributing 12 rebounds. Gilbert Brown led the Panthers in points with 20.
Once again Peyton Siva led the Cardinals with 14 points while Kuric added 12 points with 7 rebounds. The Cardinals unselfish offense allowed eight different players to register points and of Louisville’s 22 field goals, 18 received assists.
There was some bad news for the Cardinals on Sunday though. Forward Rakeem Buckles hyper extended his knee while trying to convert a layup in the first half and was lost for the rest of the game. The current report of Buckles’ right knee is that it is strained but the expected length of his absence is unknown Siva also was banged up in the first half when he tweaked his lower back after landing awkwardly but he returned shortly after coming out of the game.
The win put Louisville at 22-7 overall with a Big East record of 11-5 that ties them with St. John’s for third place in the conference. Pitt falls to 25-4 overall with a conference record of 13-3, which is still tops amongst Big East teams. The Card’s next game is Wednesday when they host the lowly Providence Friars who shocked the Cardinals by beating them 72-67 on January 22nd. Wednesday’s tipoff is set for 7:00pm EST.
About the Author
Written by John Buffone
John was born in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania. He attended Clarion University and received a degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism. He currently hosts "The Sports Zone with John Buffone" on AM 1380 WTYM in Kittanning, PA. John is also a sports columnist for the Kittanning Paper and a contributor to Examiner.com, and CatholicSportsJournal.com.