After all of the commotion abut the Louisville Cardinals receiving a four-seed in the Midwest Region, the tournament committee was almost proven correct as the defending champions needed everything in their arsenal Thursday night to get past the pesky 13-seed Manhattan Jaspers, 71-64.
Louisville led for most of the game, albeit slightly, but down the stretch in the second half the Jaspers were not making it easy for the Cardinals to make it the next round, but Luke Hancock and Russ Smith both showed up in the waning moments, and Rick Pitino and company walk out with the win.
Hancock finished the night with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Smith dropped in 18 points with three rebounds and three assists, but no points were bigger than Hancock’s eight consecutive with the clock running out on the Cardinals’ season.
With the win, the Cardinals now advance in the Midwest Region to play the St. Louis Billikens on Saturday, another team that didn’t have an easy path on Thursday to advance.
But for now, the champs are still alive.