Wichita State hung tough in the first half and actually started to pull away at the start of the second half, but Louisville’s incredible defence looked the part to close out the game and the Cardinals are off to the NCAA championship game after a 72-68 win.
The Shockers packed the paint and turned the Cardinals into a jump shooting team, which worked magically for the first 27 minutes as Wichita State took a 47-35 lead with about 13 minutes remaining. From there, Louisville took the game over on the backs of their suffocating defence and was able to get out and run on account of forcing turnovers.
It also helped that Gorgui Dieng was doing this…
Despite that late Louisville domination, the Shockers actually had a chance late in the game (down three) after a missed Luke Hancock free throw, but Ron Baker got tied up with Hancock after the defensive rebound and a jump-ball was called. The Cardinals had the possession arrow, and after an intentional foul from Wichita State, they also got the chance to make it a two possession game at the free throw line. The quick whistle for a jump ball and the entire idea of a possession arrow quickly came under fire following the play…
The jump ball call was bad…the alternate possession rule is worse.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) April 7, 2013
What’s worse – that last jumpball call, or the possession arrow in general?
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 7, 2013
What a joke but again we re dealing with college refs. What a joke
— chuck swirsky (@swirsk054) April 7, 2013
While the play in question will be talked about for a while, Hancock ‘s game and the performance of the Louisville bench in general should not be forgotten. Hancock finished with 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals to lead a Cardinals’ second unit that outscored Wichita State’s bench 34-9, spoiling Cleanthony Early’s 24-point, 10-rebound performance for the Shockers.
After the game, Kevin Ware, who was sitting on the Louisville bench all night, shared this touching moment with his dad…