5:05 PM ET, March 31, 2013
Emotional Louisville overcomes injury to Kevin Ware to reach Final Four
INDIANAPOLIS -- Crying and shaken by the sight of Kevin Ware writhing on the court, his right leg splintered, Rick Pitino and his Louisville players had no idea how they were going to pull it together with a half still left to play and a Final Four berth on the line.Ware showed them the way."I don't think we could have gathered ourselves -- I know I couldn't have -- if Kevin didn't say over and over again, 'Just go win the game," Pitino said. "I don't think we could have gone in the locker room with a loss after seeing that. We had to gather ourselves. We couldn't lose this game for him.
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Kevin Ware's gruesome leg injury became Louisville's inspiration against Duke in their quest to reach the Final Four on Sunday, writes Dana O'Neil. Story
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• Analysis: Louisville pulls away
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• What's next for Duke?
A Russ-diculous Run
Only three players have scored more than Louisville junior Russ Smith in their first four games of a single NCAA tournament during the last 10 seasons. Here's a look:
|* 23 points against Duke on Sunday|
-- ESPN Stats & Information
NCAA Mens Tournament
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 31: A general view of the opening tip-off between the Louisville Cardinals and the Duke...(Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Around Champ Week
MVPs: Louisville guard Russ Smith led his team with 23 points, but teammates Peyton Siva (16 points) and Gorgui Dieng (14 points, 11 rebounds, after sitting out his team's loss to Duke in November because of an injury) also were key.
X factor: Duke guard Seth Curry, averaging 24 points during his previous three NCAA tournament games, finished 3-for-9 with 12 points. Duke shot 36.5 percent and made only 4 of 16 3-pointers.
That was stomach-churning, in more ways than one. The game was overshadowed by a horrific injury to Louisville's Kevin Ware, who broke his leg in with 6:33 left in the first half when he jumped up to block a shot and came down awkwardly. Louisville led 21-20 at the time, and by three points at halftime. The game looked as if it might continue to be a nip-and-tuck affair until about four minutes into the second half. With the score knotted 42-42, Louisville sped on a 20-4 run that included six points by Siva and eight points from Dieng -- and during which Duke didn't make a field goal for 8 minutes, 11 seconds. And that was that.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||19-52 (.365)||29-55 (.527)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-16 (.250)||2-13 (.154)|
|FT Made-Attempted||21-28 (.750)||25-36 (.694)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (0/0)||23 (0/0)|
|» Mar 31, 2013||@LOU 85, DUKE 63||Recap|
Duke was 2-for-11 on catch-and-shoot jump shots Sunday, including 0-for-6 in the second half. In the Blue Devils' six losses this season, they shot 22.2 percent on catch-and-shoot opportunities, compared to 44.1 percent in their 30 wins.[+]
Duke Catch-and-Shoot FGA
Seth Curry scored six points on 2-of-7 shooting outside the paint on Sunday. In the Sweet 16 against Michigan State, Curry scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting on shots outside the paint.
Louisville scored 42 points in the paint Sunday, the fourth time in the 2013 Men's Basketball Championship it has scored at least 40 paint points. Duke missed 11 shots in the paint, six of which were blocked by Louisville. The Blue Devils were minus-12 in the paint Sunday, their worst paint differential in the last three Men's Basketball Championships.[+]
In the Paint
Russ Smith scored a game-high 23 points Sunday, 10 of which came in transition. Smith has scored 41 of Louisville's 72 transition points (56.9 percent) in the 2013 Men's Basketball Championship. He has more than twice as many transition points as the next closest player in the field (two tied with 20).[+]
Louisville had 38 deflections Sunday and is averaging 45.0 deflections per game in the 2013 Men's Basketball Championship. Chane Behanan had a team-high 11 deflections against Duke, including nine in the first half. The Cardinals have a goal of 35 deflections in each game.
Russ Smith made a layup with 15:44 remaining Sunday to give Louisville a 44-42 lead, which it never relinquished. The Cardinals outscored Duke by 22 points in the final 15:44 and shot 68.2 percent from the field, while holding Duke to 30.0 percent shooting. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith scored or assisted on 20 of Louisville's 43 points during this stretch.[+]
Duke's 22-point loss was its 3rd-worst in any Men's Basketball Championship game.[+]
Worst Losses - Duke in Men's Basketball Championship
Louisville is 2-7 in the National Semifinals, the 2nd-worst record among all teams (min. 5 games)[+]
Worst Win Pct in National Semifinals - Men's Basketball Championship History
Louisville has 7 losses in the National Semifinals. Only North Carolina has more (9).[+]
Most Losses in National Semifinals - Men's Basketball Championship History
Rick Pitino will make his 7th appearance in the Final Four, tied for the 4th-most in history[+]
Most Final Four Appearances - By Coach, Men's Basketball Championship History
Russ Smith is the 4th player in the last 20 seasons to score at least 20 points in each of his 1st 4 tournament games and make the Final Four.[+]
20+ Points in Each of 1st 4 Games and Made Final Four - Last 20 Seasons
It is now 3 straight Final Fours without an ACC team. The only other streak like that in conference history was a 4-year drought from 1958-61
Louisville is the 2nd Big East team to make the Final Four in consecutive seasons. Georgetown did it in 1984 and 1985.
Louisville is the 5th school in the last 10 years to play in a BCS game and reach the Final Four in the same academic year. The previous 4 all reached the basketball title game, and 3 of them cut down the nets. Louisville seeks to join Kansas and Florida as the only schools to win a BCS game and a basketball national title in the same academic year.[+]
BCS Game & Final Four in Same Academic Year, Last 10 Years
ESPN Stats & Information