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No. 4 Louisville remains unbeaten against Charleston

Dec 21, 2011 - 7:05 AM Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Kyle Kuric scored 17 points and made several key baskets down the stretch, as fourth-ranked Louisville clawed its way past College of Charleston, 69-62.

Gorgui Dieng added 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Russ Smith and Chane Behanan each posted 12 points in the victory. Louisville (11-0) remained one of six unbeatens despite getting just one point from second-leading scorer Peyton Siva.

Antwaine Wiggins scored 23 points to go along with seven rebounds while Matt Sundberg recorded nine points and nine rebounds for the Cougars (9-2), who saw a six-game winning streak come to an end.

"It's a very tough team to play, especially when there is a crowd here," Charleston head coach Bobby Cremins said. "It was an awesome experience and we just have to learn from it."

The Cougars pushed one of the nation's best teams to the brink, but faltered under constant pressure down the stretch.

Kuric worked his way into the middle of the zone and put a deft touch on the foul line floater to put the Cardinals back in front, 60-59, with just over three minutes to go. The College of Charleston efficiently broke the press, but Trent Wiedeman missed an easy lay-in, and the ensuing loose ball led to Russ Smith's three for a four-point game.

Anthony Stitt misfired from long range on the other end, and the long rebound came to Siva, who penetrated the lane then found Chris Smith on the left wing off the secondary break, and he stepped into another trey for a seven-point game.

Wiggins made a three-pointer to give the Cougars life, and they had several more chances in the final minute, including another missed layup from Wiedeman. Louisville made its foul shots when necessary to hold on.

"We knew this was going to be a war. This is a great team. For about 32-33 minutes into this basketball game, they were the better team," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "So we give them a lot of credit and our guys a lot of credit because of the way they played defense down the stretch."

The Cardinals ran off eight straight in the early going to seize a 13-6 advantage. The Cougars fought back, hanging close for most of the half then pulling within one, 31-30, on a Stitt three with just over four minutes left. Andrew Lawrence's three over a minute later gave Charleston its first lead since 6-5 and it capped a 10-0 spurt with Wiedeman's bucket for a 35-31 edge.

The margin grew to 46-38 early in the second half on Jordan Scott's triple, but Louisville slowly crept back and took the slim lead, 53-52, on back-to- back buckets from Dieng and Behanan.

Game Notes

Louisville is off to its best start since the 1996-1997 season...The Cougars made just 8-of-29 from inside the arch, but nearly pulled the upset thanks to 12 three-pointers....Siva was 0-for-5 from the floor but did finish with six assists and four steals...Louisville has won two meetings between the two programs.