No. 1 overall seed Cardinals rallied after guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome right leg injury in the first half, and the Cardinals defeated 2nd-seeded Duke 85-63 in the Midwest Regional last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium to advance to the Final Four.
Ware jumped out to contest a 3-pointer with 6:33 left in the first half and snapped his lower right leg when he landed. Teammates were shaken, and the injury led on to a lengthy stoppage in play.
Louisville’s star guards came up big after the injury to their teammate. Russ Smith scored 23 points and Peyton Siva had 16 points and 4 assists for the Cardinals (33-5), who will play Wichita State in the nation’s semifinals next Saturday. It is going to be Louisville coach Rick Pitino’s 7th trip to the Final 4.
Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils (30-6) with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Duke’s Seth Curry, who scored 29 points in the regional semifinal against Michigan State Spartans had averaged 24 points in the tournament, was scoreless in the 1st half and finished with 12 points on 3-for-9 shooting. Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon, who joined the game averaging 11.8 points per contest, didn’t score until 4:33 remained. He fouled out with 3 points. The Blue Devils’ 3 starting guards — Curry, Sulaimon and Quinn Cook — shot a mixed 7-for-30 from the field.
Duke Blue Devils defeated Louisville Cardinals 76-71 on November 24 in the championship game of the Battle for Atlantis in the Bahamas, but Louisville center Gorgui Dieng was injured and didn’t play in that game. In this game, Dieng finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Smith opened the 2nd half by getting fouled on a 3-pointer. He made all 3 free throws to give Louisville a 6-point cushion, but Curry came right back with a 3-pointer for his first points of the game.
Curry hit another 3 to cut Louisville’s lead straight to 42-40, and then Plumlee dunked on Duke’s next possession to tie the score with 16:16 to go. Football betting lines
Siva hit a pullup jumper, then scored on a driving layup to give Louisville a 49-42 lead with 13:32 remaining.
Siva scored on a transition basket to bump Louisville’s lead directly to 53-44, and then Dieng hit a jumper to give Louisville its first double-digit lead. Dieng hit another jumper to make it 57-44, Luke Hancock made a 3-pointer to bump Louisville’s lead directly to 16 and the Cardinals coasted from there.
Blue Devils trailed 33-32 in the closing seconds of the first half and had a chance to take over the lead into the break. Instead, Curry’s shot was blocked and Smith was fouled at the other end on a fast-break layup attempt with 2.3 seconds left in the half. Smith made both free throws to give the Cardinals a 35-32 lead at the break.
Smith scored 12 points in the 1st half for Louisville. Plumlee had 9 points and 6 rebounds for Duke. Ryan Kelly scored 7 points in the first half for the Blue Devils, but he played just 8 minutes as he committed 3 fouls.