Final - 2OT
  for this game

Louisville outlasts West Virginia in double overtime

Mar 9, 2007 - 4:56 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Two long nights in the city that never sleeps finally sapped the energy from West Virginia - and may have burst its bubble.

Terrence Williams scored 21 points and freshman Earl Clark added 17 points as 15th-ranked Louisville scored the first nine points of the second overtime before holding off the Mountaineers, 82-71, in the Big East Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Cardinals (23-8) extended their winning streak to seven games in advancing to a semifinal matchup with the Pittsburgh-Marquette winner on Friday.

"For some reason, we always have great games with West Virginia," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "I don't know what it is. Overtime to go the Final Four and last year at West Virginia came down to a real close ballgame. They are very difficult to play against and our guys did a great job of concentrating tonight defensively."

West Virginia (22-9) is left to ponder its NCAA Tournament hopes, which seemed a lock after it rallied from 17 points down to take the lead on Darris Nichols' driving layup with 4.3 seconds left in regulation.

The Mountaineers, however, allowed Louisville's Edgar Sosa to drive the length of the court - splitting three defenders at the free-throw line - for a tying layup as time expired.

"Coach was telling me just pass the ball, pass the ball and make one pass. I got ahead of the pack and made the layup," Sosa said. "I actually looked up the shot clock and saw it was five seconds. ... I figured I had to get up the court as fast as I could. It was just a good move and I got a layup."

The officials reviewed the play to make sure that Sosa indeed got the shot off just before the buzzer.

"I've got to trust that the timekeepers know what they are doing," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "It certainly got in the goal by that time and we hustled, we got back, tried to get back and he just made a terrific play.

"I think that this is (a tournament team). We are a tenth of a second away from a great, great, win. So you know we certainly think so at West Virginia. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that they (the Selection Committee) think the same way."

Coming off a 92-79 win over Providence on Wednesday in which it set a conference record with 17 3-pointers, West Virginia forced a second OT on a pair of free throws by Nichols with 21 seconds to play.

But in the final extra session, Louisville took control immediately with Clark scoring five points - sandwiching a layup and 3-pointer around a dunk by David Padgett - in a 9-0 run that he capped with a 3-pointer for a 75-66 lead with 1:23 to go.

"I just think that our guys are risk-takers, not that they (West Virginia) weren't," Pitino said. "We weren't afraid to fail. We took big shots. Padgett took a big one. Guys were very much at ease and had no fear of failure."

Padgett scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting as the Cardinals snapped a nine-game losing streak in New York City and won at Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1984.

Frank Young had 19 points and Da'Sean Butler 17 for West Virginia, which was just 7-of-28 from the arc one night after its record-setting performance.

Louisville had appeared on the verge of a rout, scoring the first nine points of the second half to take a commanding 44-27 advantage.

The Mountaineers answered with a stunning 18-0 run, holding the Cardinals scoreless for more than 8 1/2 minutes to take a 45-44 lead with 8:58 left, setting the stage for what would become just the fourth game to go to more than one overtime in Big East Tournament history.

"It was just coach telling us to be calm, we've been in this situation already," Williams said. "Playing those six games that we won on the road, it helped us tonight because it got to the time where you can't be nervous out there. You have to play basketball."