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Cool Hand Luke Hancock Bails Out Louisville…Again

Louisville was the frontrunner for much of the tournament, but for the second time in three nights, it took a come from behind victory by the Cardinals to hoist the program's first NCAA championship in 27 years.

Louisville was the frontrunner for much of the tournament, but for the second time in three nights, it took a come from behind victory by the Cardinals to hoist the program's first NCAA championship in 27 years.

 

The first half was straight up Spike TV for the viewing audience. Spike Albrecht had 17 points in the first half, and Burke picked up the slack by tacking on 17 points of his own in the second half. He also slapped Peyton Siva’s attempt to posterize him back in his face.

 

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Russ Smith was Louisville’s leader for much of the tournament, but Luke Hancock was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player for good reason. After Smith started out 1-for-10, Luke Hancock bailed Louisville out in the first half after they fell behind by a dozen. They call him Cool Luke, but he lit the nets on fire. After Louisville fell behind 33-21, Hancock scored 14 points in the final 3:33 to get them back in the game. 

 

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Pitino started the second half with Smith on the bench to send him a message. Smith finally responded by draining a left corner three with just under 14 minutes remaining, to stretch Louisville’s lead to five points. From that same spot Hancock gave Louisville a ten-point lead in the final three minutes of the game.


 

From there, Smith made a trio of mistakes that nearly sunk the the Cardinals. He fouled Burke while defending him at halfcourt, quickly misfired a jumper from the wing in the first five seconds of the shot-clock and then sailed a crosscourt inbounds pass intended for Siva over his head and out of bounds. By the time he was done, Michigan had cut the lead to four. But it was too little to late.


 

Siva won the showdown with Burke and finished with 18 points, making two crucial free throws to seal the deal and make it official.

GIF: THEY SHOOTIN!  Pitino Scared By Explosions