Marquette 66, No.25 Louisville 64
MILWAUKEE (AP) _ The Louisville Cardinals couldn’t steal a win, mostly because they couldn’t rebound.
Jon Harris hit a layup with 20.1 seconds left in overtime as Marquette defeated its second ranked opponent in four days, beating reeling No. 25 Louisville 66-64 Saturday.
Louisville, which forced overtime with a late rally and led through most of the extra period, suffered its second discouraging loss in four days.
UAB and Marquette, teams expected to finish below the Cardinals in the Conference USA standings, kept Louisville winless on the road this season.
Coach Denny Crum could only grimace when he saw a statistics sheet highlighting the primary reason for the latest loss: a 49-25 rebounding advantage for the Golden Eagles.
``I doubt there’s anyone who could have predicted they would get 24 more rebounds than we did,″ the Louisville coach said. ``But logic doesn’t play a part in it, I guess. I know we’re not a great rebounding team, but we should be able to do better than that.″
The Cardinals (10-5, 2-2 C-USA) left Louisville earlier this week with their first national ranking in a year and a five-game winning streak that included victories over nationally ranked North Carolina and Utah.
Louisville still hasn’t won a road game this season, with losses at Virginia Commonwealth and Kentucky in addition to this week’s woes.
Marquette (10-5, 3-1), which has won five of the last six, beat No. 21 DePaul on Wednesday. Brian Wardle led Marquette with 17 points, but John Cliff, who had 12 points, hit most of the team’s big baskets and got a crucial rebound with seven seconds left in overtime.
Marquette, not known as a rebounding power, got 25 offensive rebounds and won despite shooting 30 percent in the second half.
``We’ve been stressing rebounding all through January,″ said Wardle, who had six offensive rebounds. ``We have good technique, which makes up for our size disadvantages.″
First-year coach Tom Crean has Marquette in second place in the league standings behind top-ranked Cincinnati. Crean said he might have been the only person in the Bradley Center who wasn’t amazed by Marquette’s rebounding dominance.
``Our goal going into the game was 22 offensive rebounds,″ Crean said. ``I really thought that was something we could do.″
Louisville needed a 3-pointer by Tobiah Hopper with 6.7 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Reece Gaines’ layup with 48 seconds left in overtime gave Louisville a 64-63 lead, but Cordell Henry drove the lane and dished to the wide-open Harris, who scored. Gaines then missed a leaner with nine seconds left, and Cliff won a scramble for the rebound.
After Cliff made one of two free throws, Quintin Bailey took a long 3-pointer that hung in the air for two seconds before clanging off the backboard. Crum held his head in his hands for several seconds after the shot.
Gaines, a Madison, Wis., native playing in front of two dozen family members and friends, had 20 points for the Cardinals, but the team’s senior front-line trio of Tony Williams, Nate Johnson and Dion Edward played its second poor game.
Leading scorer Johnson had only seven points _ nine below his average _ and Williams didn’t get untracked until overtime, when he had seven of his 13 points. The three combined for just 24 points on 10-of-24 shooting.
Marquette led 49-39 with seven minutes left when Louisville began a 13-4 run capped by Johnson’s jumper with 1:52 left. Cliff hit two free throws with 13.8 seconds left, giving Marquette a 55-52 lead.
The Cardinals got the ball to Hopper, who hit just his fourth 3-pointer of the season. Cliff’s open 15-footer at the buzzer was long.