One last time. The Cincinnati Bearcats and the Louisville Cardinals met one last time in the regular season Saturday afternoon at Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena. In a game that can only be described as ugly play on both sides was won on a heartbreaker from Louisville’s Russ Smith with 2 seconds left in the game.
Saturday’s game started off slowly and ugly for both teams, especially Cincinnati. Star senior Justin Jackson whose face was on t-shirts handed out by the university recorded two quick fouls in the first three minutes of the game. Cincinnati then played the rest of the first half without their leading shot blocker and rebounder.
While Jackson got into foul trouble the Bearcats were unable to score for the first three minutes of the game until finally Sean Kilpatrick hit a three from NBA range to get the Bearcats on the board. The theme for the first half had to be sloppy play from both sides but phenomenal defense at the same time. The first half turned into a rock fight.
With four minutes left in the first half Cincinnati was down 12, the game looked to be getting out of hand. Suddenly though the Bearcats came storming back, a 10-1 run thanks to their bench and a Troy Caupain buzzer beater pulled the Bearcats within 3 giving them a chance with the score 22-19.
The second half of would be vastly different. Cincinnati would score double their first half points. With five minutes left the Bearcats were down 9 and once again it seemed like the game might get out of reach. Once again though they came storming back with an 11-0 run, then it happened.
Cincinnati plays in the American Athletic Conference, home to the most incompetent group of officials in all the land. An out of bounds call by the officials took 7+ minutes to review. Initially it was ruled out on Shaq Washington much to the dismay of everyone in the arena. The call was then reviewed, after three minutes it was overturned and given to Cincinnati, Fifth Third Arena. Cincinnati then went to inbound the ball only to have play stopped again for another review of the same play. The officials then spent another three minutes reviewing only to reverse their reversal and give the ball to Louisville, Rick Pitinio’s hissy fit paid off.
After that 7 minute delay all the momentum Cincinnati had was killed. With 12 seconds left and down by 1 Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain made a move for the basket and got fouled. He proceeded to knock down both of his free throws for a 57-56 Cincinnati lead. Louisville would inbound the ball, neither team had a time out. Louisville’s Russ Smith knocked down a pull up jumper with 2.2 seconds to go for the 58-57 win.
In the most hard fought game of the year Cincinnati came up a little short. This team has more heart than anyone in the country, one loss doesn’t kill this team in fact it may make them stronger.