No. 4 Louisville (12-1) dropped a heartbreaker at home Wednesday night to the no. 12 ranked Georgetown Hoyas (11-1) by a score of 71-68 to open conference play in the Big East. After numerous battles and lead changes, the Hoyas pulled away in the second half only to see the Cards make it interesting down the stretch.
Louisville led 35-32 at the half thanks in part to Kyle Kuric’s three first half 3-pointers. Kuric would finish the game 5-12 from beyond the arc. The game would continue to be a stalemate until about the nine-minute mark when the Hoyas would go on a 13-2 to run which put them up by 10 points with less than five minutes remaining. Once backed into a corner, Rick Pitino’s squad turned to their full-court press and forced the Hoyas to continuously cough up the ball. Louisville as a whole, forced 16 Georgetown turnovers. The end was result was a Louisville 11-0 run that tied that game at 63 with 2:01 remaining in the game. The Hoyas ultimately made their shots down the stretch as opposed to the Cardinals who chucked up ill-advised shots for the remainder of the night.
Kuric led Louisville with 17 points and was one of three Cardinals to tally double-digit points Wednesday night. Peyton Siva scored a hard-earned 15 points while sophomore Russ Smith scored 14 points coming off the bench. A real dagger in Louisville’s heart was their inability to convert from the free-throw line while in the bonus. Both Siva and center Gorgui Dieng missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation late in the game, which stalled any momentum the Cardinals were hoping to build down the stretch. As a team, Louisville converted only 10-of-17 from the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Markel Starks led Georgetown with 20 points while Freshman Otto Porter contributed 14 points off the bench and brought down 14 rebounds. Despite turning the ball over seven more times than Louisville, the Hoyas were able to stay ahead by converting at the charity stripe and from behind the 3-point line. Georgetown went 18-of-24 from the free throw line and shot and impressive 7-11 from behind the arc which included Starks going 4-4 and forward Hollis Thompson hitting 2-of-2.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Cardinals as they have less than three days to prepare for John Calipari and the no. 3 Kentucky Wildcats on New Year’s Eve Day. That game will take place at the Rupp Arena at 12:00pm 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.