January 26, 2011
When Peyton Siva exited a game against Marquette 11 days ago in the wake of a dismal 0-for-5 shooting night, Louisville fans let the sophomore point guard know they weren't satisfied with his performance.
"I was just like, 'God, did I do that bad that I got booed?'' a chuckling Siva told reporters the following week.
It's safe to say Siva won't be booed again anytime soon after he rescued the Cardinals on Wednesday night with a circus layup in the final seconds. With Louisville trailing visiting West Virginia by one, Siva blew by Mountaineers guard John Flowers with a sweet crossover and then threw a twisting up-and-under layup high off the glass with 4.5 seconds left to give the Cardinals a 55-54 victory.
The shot of the night from Siva helped Louisville (16-4, 5-2 Big East) rebound from a discouraging 72-67 road loss to Providence on Saturday afternoon. The win coupled with Villanova's loss at Providence elevated the Cardinals into a three-way tie for second place with the Wildcats and Connecticut.
It probably shouldn't have been so difficult for Louisville to emerge with a victory on Wednesday considering West Virginia was down to eight healthy scholarship players. The Mountaineers, playing without suspended leading scorer Casey Mitchell, made just two field goals over the final 15 minutes and needed a career-high 18 points from Joe Mazzulla just to remain close.
In addition to Louisville's defense and West Virginia's lack of scoring punch, the key to the Cardinals' rally from an 11-point halftime deficit was the play of Siva. He made all five of his field-goal attempts and finished with 14 points as the Cardinals avoided their first two-game losing streak of the season.