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Costly miscue sends West Virginia past Louisville

Mar 6, 2011 - 1:39 AM Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Darryl Bryant made two free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining after an inexplicable foul by Louisville's Preston Knowles to give West Virginia a stunning 72-70 victory over the 11th-ranked Cardinals at the WVU Coliseum.

Casey Mitchell drilled a three-pointer with 8.1 seconds remaining to tie the game for West Virginia and Louisville, without a timeout, raced the other way. Knowles fired up a three-pointer that missed and committed an inexcusable foul after Bryant had corralled the rebound some 75 feet from the opposite basket.

Bryant went to the line and made the first free throw to give the Mountaineers the lead. He tried to intentionally miss the second, but it rolled in, and a desperation Louisville heave after the inbounds was well short.

The incredible victory gave West Virginia (20-10, 11-7 Big East) a first-round bye in next week's Big East Tournament. The Mountaineers will head to New York with a three-game winning streak and their seventh straight 20-win season.

Kevin Jones led the Mountaineers with 25 points and 16 rebounds, while John Flowers contributed 12 points, 12 boards and six blocks. Mitchell and Bryant each finished with 10 points in the victory. West Virginia shot just 33.9 percent from the field, but held a 49-25 edge on the glass.

Louisville (23-8, 12-6) had already been locked into the No. 3 seed in the Big East Tournament. The Cardinals, who will have a double-bye at Madison Square Garden, had won four in a row before Saturday's setback.

Kyle Kuric scored 21 points for Louisville, while Knowles chipped in 15.

This has been an extremely tight series over the last couple of years with the last four being decided by three points or less, and Rick Pitino's Cardinals having won two of those matchups.

"It seems like every time we play Rick it's like this, something like this," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "They banked a couple in to beat us. They told me when I got in the business it all evens out. I think he still owes me a couple."

The Cardinals scored eight straight to open a 16-8 lead with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half, but West Virginia answered with 10 of the next 12 to tie it at 18-18 with 7:16 to play. It remained tight from there and the Mountaineers managed to take a 32-30 edge to the locker room.

West Virginia opened the second half with a 9-3 burst to build a 41-33 lead, but Louisville kept it close and went in front, 54-53, with 8:26 to play on a three-pointer by Kuric. The Cardinals expanded their lead to five a few times down the stretch, the last time at 69-64 with 24.3 seconds left on two free throws by Chris Smith.

Mitchell then canned a three-pointer with 17.3 seconds remaining to draw West Virginia within two and Peyton Siva made just the second of two from the line to extend the Louisville edge to three, setting up the final dramatics.

Game Notes

Huggins notched his 100th win at his alma mater...Smith scored 14 points for Louisville, while Siva finished with just two...The Mountaineers grabbed 25 offensive rebounds, 11 by Jones...The teams split the season series, as Louisville notched a 55-54 home win on January 26.