PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- After losing their first six Big East games -- a total of 17 in a row, dating to last January -- the Providence Friars would have been happy just to finally get a conference win.
Instead, they pulled off an emotional upset.
Marshon Brooks scored 27 points to lead Providence to a 72-67 victory over Louisville (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) on Saturday and the Friars won a Big East game for the first time in 51 weeks.
"There was a lot of chanting and singing" in the locker room, Providence coach Keno Davis said. "It was a relief for them."
Gerard Coleman had a career-high 19 points, and Vincent Council hit a pair of penetration jumpers in traffic in the final minutes for the Friars (12-8, 1-6 Big East). It was their first win over former coach Rick Pitino in his seven trips back since he led them to the 1987 NCAA Final Four and then left for the NBA's New York Knicks.
"You've got to give him credit. He made two shots from about 10 feet," Pitino said. "We were on him, so you've got to give him credit. Those are shots you don't usually see a person take, let alone make."
Chris Smith had a season-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds for Louisville (15-4, 4-2). The Cardinals went 4 for 23 from 3-point range -- missing all 12 attempts in the second half, including several airballs in the final minute as they struggled to make a comeback.
"Louisville's probably the best 3-point shooting team we've seen all year," Davis said. "We were able to not give them many open 3-point looks. We challenged each one of them."
Louisville rallied from 18 points down to beat Marquette 71-70 on Saturday, then beat St. John's on Wednesday.
The Friars had not won a Big East game since beating Connecticut on Jan. 27, also their last victory over a team ranked in The Associated Press Top 25. But Providence played Syracuse closely, and then went to the final minute against both St. John's and then Pittsburgh.
"I told y'all that we just had to get over that hump," Brooks said. "I feel like we'll be all right now."
Pitino said the Friars were better than their 0-6 conference record indicated.
"They had Pittsburgh, they had St. John's," he said. "They're a young team with a great player."
But the Cardinals were hindered by a series of moving screen calls that took away their ability to set picks.
"Father Shanley hired those three guys," Pitino said with a laugh, referring to The Rev. Brian Shanley, Providence College's president. "I never saw any of those officials before."
Louisville led 43-39 at halftime, but Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers at the start of the second half and Coleman added a basket to give the Friars a 47-44 lead. Providence led 54-53 -- on another Brooks 3-pointer -- when the Cardinals scored four straight to take a 57-54 lead with just under 9 minutes remaining.
Kyle Kuric made a pair of free throws for Louisville to tie it 61-all with under 4 minutes left, then Brooks hit another 3 to give Providence the lead for good. After Peyton Siva scored off an inbounds pass for Louisville to make it a one-point game, Council made a bank shot in the lane and then another short jumper.
After Louisville's third straight missed 3-pointer, Coleman hit a pair of free throws to make it 70-63 with 26 seconds left.
In all, the Cardinals missed seven 3-point attempts in the final 4:14. Brooks was 4 for 5 from 3-point range in the second half, when he scored 20 of his points.
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