March 29, 2013

Smith leads Louisville to 77-69 victory over Ducks

The Associated Press

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Louisville center Gorgui Dieng (10) grabs a rebound against Oregon center Tony Woods (55) during the second half of a regional semifinal in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 29, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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After Siva went out, Smith hit a 3 to spark a 14-3 run that put Louisville up 24-8.

"We really dug ourselves a big hole," Singler said. "We tried to figure back as much as possible, but Louisville's a really, really good team. They just played better than us today."

But the Ducks aren't a team that gives in. After losing six of their last 11 regular-season games, the Ducks have been on a tear. They won the Pac-12 tournament, then upset Oklahoma State and Saint Louis last weekend.

After Luke Hancock's 3 capped a 12-2 run that put Louisville up 66-48, the Ducks would make six straight field goals. When Dotson knocked down a jumper with 5:12 remaining, it got Oregon within six, the closest it had been since early in the first half.

Closest anyone had been to Louisville since the Big East tournament, actually.

"We've been in that position before this year," Singler said.

But part of what makes the Cardinals so imposing is their maturity and their options, which seem endless. Instead of panicking, the Cardinals regrouped and regained control, and the Ducks never threatened again.

"I told our guys, 'We don't have it tonight. It's obvious,'" Pitino said. "We're winning with offense and that's great, but we've got to start digging in and getting stops. We did it at the end."

Ware brought a halt to the Oregon run with his layup and then came Behanan's dunk. Smith made a pair of free throws, and the only question was whether the Ducks could get back within single digits before the buzzer.

"(Smith) made big plays," Altman said. "When you let a good team like Louisville be the aggressor, they're tough to beat."

Even with colds.

"Coach has been telling me to fight through it, fight through it, dig in. My teammates as well," Smith said. "We're fighting through it and just doing whatever we can to get a win."

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