CBS Sports Louisville won a thriller against UC-Irvine 57-55 after Quentin Snider made two free throws with nine seconds remaining to take the lead, and UC-Irvine turned it over on a somewhat controversial Terry Rozier steal.
Irvine inbounded the ball at halfcourt with about six seconds remaining on the clock, and with a foul to give Louisville coach Rick Pitino motioned for his team to foul in order to waste precious seconds on the clock. Rozier obliged, but also went for the ball and forced the refs to make the call, which they did not. Time expired in the ensuing fracas for the ball, and Louisville came away with the win. Here's what the play looked like:
Tough play, but it looks like it probably should have been blown dead. The Anteaters had plenty of other opportunities in this game though, and it didn't just come down to this one call that the refs didn't make.
Beyond the final sequence, this was an absolutely terrific basketball game that was close the whole way. Had Irvine not turned the ball over 14 times, there might have been a different result because Louisville really struggled to score against the Anteaters. Seven-foot-six center Mamadou Ndiaye forced the Cardinals out of the paint and altered many shots just by his sheer presence, and that's always going to lead to a stagnant, stale offense for this Louisville roster. The big man also scored 12 points on the other end, including this monstrous dunk.
The Cardinals strung enough offense through Rozier's ability to get out in transition -- the 6-foot-1 guard was bottled up in the half court but still ended up with 12 points -- and Wayne Blackshear's ability to space the floor. The oft-maligned Blackshear, particularly, was aggressive throughout the contest, throwing up 19 points on 20 shots, including a big lay-in through contact against the towering Great Wall of Senegal (h/t Derek Bodner).
While we'll have to wait until next season to see Ndiaye and the Anteaters again, the Cardinals will move on to face Northern Iowa in the Round of 32. That matchup is a similar one to this one on offense, as the Panthers will try to discourage dribble penetration through their pack-line-principled defense. Expect another slow, low-scoring affair in that one that will come down to the final possessions.