LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Chane Behanan had 20 points, including a clinching dunk with 18 seconds left, after which he blew a kiss to the fans, as the University of Louisville beat Kentucky 80-77 Saturday before a crowd of 22,810 in the KFC Yum! Center.
Leading 36-28 at the half, the fourth-ranked Cardinals (12-1) opened the second half with a 15-6 run to lead 51-34 with 15:39 left to play. Just when it looked as if the Cardinals were going to run off and hide, however, UK (8-4) mounted a 10-0 run to close within 51-44 with 12:59 left. After several minutes of back-and-forth, foul-plagued action, the Wildcats closed within 65-62 with 4:59 left, but they could get no closer.
"It was a tribute to their young team that they came back the way they did," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of UK's comeback. "It was a great win for us, especially because of the foul trouble we were in.
"We played great defense in the first half, but we had to back off in the second half because of foul trouble. We hung on because of key contributions from Chane and Russ (Smith)."
Forty-two fouls were called in the game, 21 on each team. Louisville played the final five minutes with three players each having four fouls, and three UK players ended up with four fouls apiece. Louisville hit 17 of 25 free throws, UK just 11 of 23. UK freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein was 0 for 4 from the line, although he actually was 0 for 6 because he got to try two of his misses again because of lane violations called on Louisville
UK's comeback was fueled by 3-pointers. Kyle Wiltjer hit back-to-back 3's that started the 10-0 run, and Archie Goodwin hit three treys in the final two minutes, including one in the final seconds that accounted for the final score.
Goodwin, a freshman, led Kentucky with 22 points. He hit 8 of 15 shots, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Point guard Ryan Harrow added 17 points, and Wiltjer scored 14. Wiltjer made 4 of 7 shots, all from beyond the arc. The Cats shot 58.1 percent in the second half after being held to 37 percent shooting in the first half.
Smith led Louisville with 21 points, 17 coming in the second half. He hit 9 of 20 shots and also had seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Behanan hit 8 of 13 shots, had seven rebounds and also had three assists and three steals. Senior point guard Peyton Siva had 19 points before fouling out in the final minute. He fouled Goodwin on a 3-pointer, and Goodwin made the free throw to complete a four-point play and cut the Cardinals' lead to 77-74 with 33 seconds left. Smith then hit 1 of 2 free throws, and UK turned it over at the other end. The inbounds pass came to Gorgui Dieng, who found Behanan loose on a runout, and he slammed it home, sealed with a kiss, to make it 80-74.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair until the Cardinals took command with a 13-4 run to lead 25-20 with 6:14 left. UK closed within 30-27 with 2:39 left, but Louisville closed the half with a 6-1 run to lead 36-28 at the intermission.
NOTES: Junior center Gorgui Dieng returned to Louisville's lineup after missing seven games with a broken left wrist suffered Nov. 23 against Missouri. The 6-11 Dieng was averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and two blocks before he was injured. He didn't start but entered 1:47 into the game. He played with a wrap on his wrist.