Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Luke lifts Louisville over Michigan

By
From page B1 | April 09, 2013 |

Louisville players embrace after the Cardinals defeated Michigan, 82-76, in the NCAA championship game on Monday in Atlanta. AP photo

ATLANTA — Rick Pitino capped the greatest week of his life with the prize he wanted most of all.

Luke Hancock produced another huge game off the bench, scoring 22 points, and Pitino became the first coach to win national titles at two schools when relentless Louisville rallied from another 12-point deficit to beat Michigan, 82-76, in the NCAA championship game Monday night.

This title came on the same day Pitino was announced as a member of the latest Hall of Fame class, a couple of days after his horse won a big race on the way to the Kentucky Derby, and a few more days after his son got the head coaching job at Minnesota.

This was the best feeling of all. The Cardinals (35-5) lived up to their billing as the top overall seed in the tournament, though they sure had to work for it.

Louisville trailed Wichita State by a dozen in the second half before rallying for a 72-68 victory. This time, they fell behind by 12 in the first half, though a stunning spurt at the end of the period wiped out the entire deficit.

“I had the 13 toughest guys I’ve ever coached,” said Pitino, who plans to follow through on a promise he made to his players if they won the title — by getting a tattoo.

No one was tougher than Hancock, who matched his season high and was named the most outstanding player — the first sub ever to win the award. Coming off a 20-point effort in the semifinal victory over Wichita State, he came off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers after Michigan got a boost from an even more unlikely player.

Freshman Spike Albrecht made four straight from beyond the arc, too, blowing by his career high before the break with 17 points. Coming in, Albrecht was averaging 1.8 points a game and had not scored more than seven all season.

Albrecht didn’t do much in the second half, but Hancock finished what he started for Louisville. He buried another 3 from the corner with 3:20 remaining to give the Cardinals their biggest lead, 76-66. Michigan wouldn’t go away, but Hancock wrapped it up by making two free throws with 29 seconds left.

While Pitino shrugged off any attempt to make this about him, there was no doubt the Cardinals wanted to win a national title for someone else — injured guard Kevin Ware.

Watching again from his seat at the end of the Louisville bench, his injured right leg propped up on a chair, Ware smiled and slapped hands with his teammates as they celebrated in the closing seconds, the victory coming just 30 miles from where he played his high school ball.

Any pain he was feeling from that gruesome injury in the regional final, when he landed awkwardly, snapped his leg and was left writhing on the floor with the bone sticking through the skin, was long gone as he hobbled gingerly onto the court with the aid of crutches, basking in a sea of confetti and streamers.

Louisville again came out wearing Ware’s No. 5 on the back of their warmup jerseys, which said “Ri5e to the Occasion” on the front. When the title belonged to the Cardinals, Ware put on a championship cap and got a big hug from Pitino. Then, they lowered the basket so the injured player could cut a strand out of the net.

This one belonged to him as much as anyone on the court.

“These are my brothers,” Ware said. “They got the job done. I’m so proud of them, so proud of them.”

Peyton Siva added 18 points for the Cardinals, who closed the season on a 16-game winning streak, and Chane Behanan chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds as Louisville slowly but surely closed out the Wolverines (31-8).

Michigan was in the title game for the first time since the Fab Five lost the second of two straight championship games in 1993. Players from that team, including Chris Webber, cheered on the latest group of young stars.

But, like the Fab Five, national player of the year Trey Burke and a squad with three freshman starters came up short in the last game of the season.

“A lot of people didn’t expect us to get this far,” said Burke, who led the Wolverines with 24 points. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to get past the second round. We fought. We fought up to this point, but Louisville was the better team (Monday), and they’re deserving of the win.”

The first half might’ve been the most entertaining 20 minutes of the entire tournament.

Burke started out on fire for Michigan, hitting his first three shots and scoring seven points to match his output from the semifinal victory over Syracuse, when he made only 1-of-8 shots.

Then, when Burke picked up his second foul and had to go to the bench for the rest of the half, Albrecht took control. The kid whose nickname comes from his first pair of baseball spikes showed he’s a pretty good hoops player, knocking down one 3-pointer after another to send the Wolverines to a double-digit lead.

When Albrecht blew by Tim Henderson with a brilliant hesitation move, Michigan led 33-21 and Louisville was forced to call timeout. The freshman was mobbed on the Michigan bench, like the Wolverines had already won the national title, with one teammate waving a towel in tribute.

“That was honestly, probably back to high school days,” Albrecht said, remembering when he’s had a stretch like that. “Coach Beilein doesn’t play guys with two fouls in the first half, so I knew I was in the rest of the half, and I was fortunately hitting shots. Teammates were finding me. That’s about it.”

It didn’t last. Not against Louisville.

The Cardinals came back one more time.

“We just went into war right there with a great Michigan team,” Hancock said. “We needed a rally and we’ve been doing it for a couple of games straight, being down. We just had to wait and make our run.”

Burke, who played only six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, finished with 24 points and did his best to give Michigan its first championship since 1989. But he couldn’t do it alone. Albrecht was held scoreless after the break, and no one else posted more than 12 points for the Wolverines.

Still, it was quite a run for a fourth-seeded team that knocked off No. 1-seeded Kansas with the greatest comeback of the tournament, rallying from 14 points down in the second half to beat the Jayhawks in the round of the 16.

But they came up against the ultimate comeback team in the final.

“I’ve had a lot of really good teams over the years, and some emotional locker rooms, and that was the most emotional we’ve ever had,” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “The team unity we had, the sacrifice we had from five seniors who did not get to play very much, to these young guys buying into the team concept.

“We feel bad about it. There are some things we could have done better and get a win, but at the same time, Louisville is a terrific basketball team. We have not seen that quickness anywhere.”

Louisville had already pulling off a stunning rally in the Big East championship game — down by 16 in the second half, they won by 17 — and another against Wichita State. They surged back again behind their own ace off the bench.

Hancock matched Albrecht from the 3-point stripe. Then, trapping the youngster and knocking the ball away, he set up a fast break that ended with Siva flipping up a lob that Montrezl Harrell slammed through for a dunk, capping a stunning 16-3 run in less than 4 minutes that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 37-36.

Glenn Robinson III made two free throws with two seconds left to give Michigan a 38-37 lead at halftime.

But everyone knew this game was just getting started.

And when it was done, Pitino, Ware and the Cardinals were celebrating in the middle of the mammoth Georgia Dome, assuring the national title will stay in the bluegrass another year.

Last season, it was Kentucky winning it all, the same team that gave Pitino his first title in 1996.

Now, he’s got another one — right down the road in Louisville.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

     
    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

     
    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8