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Louisville rallies, tops Marquette on Kuric's layup

Jan 15, 2011 - 11:49 PM Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Kyle Kuric's layup with four seconds left capped an incredible Louisville comeback, as the 18th-ranked Cardinals pulled out a 71-70 victory over Marquette at the KFC Yum! Center.

The Cardinals trailed by 18 with just over seven minutes to play, but Preston Knowles led Louisville's charge with a host of three-pointers before Terrence Jennings converted both ends of a one-and-one to make it a 70-69 game with 24.4 seconds left.

Marquette broke Louisville's ensuing press and Dwight Buycks tried to drive for a layup, but Jennings was there to block the shot and give the Cardinals possession with 16 seconds remaining.

After a timeout, the Eagles concentrated on Knowles and left Kuric wide open under the basket. Knowles found him for the easy layup to put the Cardinals ahead with four ticks to play.

Marquette inbounded the ball after a timeout and Jimmy Butler lost control as he reached the foul line, but was still able to get off a shot that grazed the front of the rim as time expired.

"If you live long enough, you'll see it all," said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. "This is one of the top five comebacks for us. That was a team that outplayed us for 34 minutes of the ballgame. I'm really proud of the guys and I'm still shaking. That went by so quick, all of a sudden we won the game."

Knowles hit five three-pointers, four during the final seven minutes, and finished with 17 points for Louisville (14-3, 3-1 Big East), which was coming off an 88-74 loss at Villanova on Wednesday. Kuric added 10 points in the victory.

Darius Johnson-Odom scored 16 points and Butler chipped in 15 for Marquette (12-6, 3-2), which was trying to knock off its second ranked opponent this week. The Golden Eagles rolled to a 79-57 victory over No. 9 Notre Dame on Monday.

"I thought we played the first 12 minutes of the second half really well. We did not finish the game with poise, did not play with the same sort of mentality that we had played with up until that point," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "That is my fault more than it is anybody else's. I didn't manage the game at the end, and they (Louisville) did an unbelievable job of making shots, making hard shots. Their pressure bothered us towards the end more than it did throughout the game."

Marquette held a 36-31 lead at halftime and extended the cushion to 63-45 with 7:15 to play on a layup by Johnson-Odom. Louisville then stormed back with a 17-2 run.

Knowles drilled a trio of three-pointers during the burst, the last coming with 1:53 remaining to pull the Cardinals within 65-62. The Eagles got only two free throws from Johnson-Odom in that span until a tough layup inside by Jae Crowder ended the drought with 1:38 to play.

Another three-pointer by Knowles made it a two-point game before Buycks drove for a layup with 58 seconds left to push the Marquette lead to 69-65. Jennings then hit two from the line for Louisville before Junior Cadougan made 1-of-2 at the stripe for the Eagles to set up the final frenetic moments.

"[Jennings] gave us a big lift," Pitino added. "Coming down the stretch, making his free throws and rebounding. We did a lot of smart things down the stretch."

Louisville opened a 14-10 edge on a three-pointer by Kuric just 5 1/2 minutes into the contest, but Marquette responded with eight of the next 11 points for an 18-17 advantage.

The lead changed hands a couple of times over the next few minutes, but the Eagles used a 9-2 burst to turn a one-point margin into a 36-28 cushion late in the half. The Cardinals scored the final three to head into the break down 36-31.

Game Notes

Jennings scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds for Louisville...The Cardinals won despite making only 12-of-21 free throws, while Marquette was 28-of-38 at the stripe...Buycks finished with 13 points in defeat...Louisville next hosts St. John's on Wednesday, while Marquette heads back home to host DePaul on Tuesday.