Late Drought Dooms Cards in Loss to North Carolina

“We came here to win this tournament, and we’re very disappointed we’re going home.”  Those were the words of Louisville coach Rick Pitino after the Cardinals’ 70 – 60 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels in front of a heavily pro Tar Heel crowd.

The Cardinals were in control for much of the game.  However, as has been the case throughout the season, they suffered from a scoring drought at the worst time.  Montrezl Harrell slammed home an alley oop pass from Quentin Snider to give the Cards a 57 – 56 lead with 7:28 remaining.  North Carolina would then score eight consecutive points to go ahead 64 – 57 and never trail again.

Senior Wayne Blackshear finally ended the 5:28 drought by hitting a three to cut the Tar Heels lead to four.  The Cardinals had a couple of chances after a steal by Mangok Mathiang on the next possession, but Terry Rozier missed an open three and after a Mathiang offensive rebound Snider missed a jumper.  North Carolina would hit all six of their foul shots in the last minute to seal the deal.

U of L logoRozier led the Cardinals with 20 points, but was only 1 – 8 from three point range.  Rozier’s 6 for 20 shooting performance continues a month and a half long struggle from the field.  He is shooting only 32.8 percent since January 28.

Blackshear and Harrell had strong performances for the 14th-ranked Cardinals.  Blackshear scored 18 points and Harrell scored 14 and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

Junior forward Brice Johnson led the 19th-ranked Tar Heels with a game-high 22 points.  He scored 18 after halftime.

Louisville must now wait for Selection Sunday to find out their fate.  Many have them as a solid number four seed, but as the past as shown, nothing is for sure especially after a first round tourney exit.

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