for this game

Smith hits game-winning shot as Louisville edges No. 13 Marquette

Feb 18, 2007 - 5:38 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- What a homecoming for freshman Jerry Smith.

Smith scored all nine of his points from 3-point range, including the game-winning shot as time expired, lifting Louisville to a 61-59 triumph over No. 13 Marquette in a Big East Conference battle.

Edgar Sosa scored 15 points and Derrick Carter added 14 for the Cardinals (19-8, 9-4 Big East), who picked up their second straight win over a ranked foe after beating seventh-ranked Pittsburgh, 66-53, on Monday.

"Three weeks ago I tried to say there was so much basketball left to be played and anything can happen," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.

Marquette's Jerel McNeal netted three of his 18 points with a shot from the arc, sparking a 10-5 surge for a 57-50 lead with 3:36 remaining.

However, Smith connected on two 3-pointers and Sosa scored on a driving layup during an 8-1 run, tying the game at 58-58 with 18 seconds left.

Dominic James had a chance to give the Golden Eagles (21-7, 8-5) a two-point advantage, but split a pair of foul shots 12 seconds later, setting up Smith's heroics.

"It is a tough loss," said James, who scored nine points. "We got out in front but it wasn't far enough."

"I think it is a missed opportunity anytime you have a hold on a game like that," McNeal said. "Give credit to those guys, as they played well down the stretch."

The Golden Eagles shot just 62 percent (15-of-24) from the free-throw line.

"The free throw is an Achilles heal at times," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "(Saturday) we missed some. The last thing we are going to do is quit attacking the basket and trying to get to the free-throw line."

Sosa raced the ball up court and found Smith - a native of nearby Wauwatosa - for a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded.

"I told the guys you have to make one pass when you are coming down with five seconds," Pitino said. "We tried to get Jerry a shot in the corner. We have had unbelievable finishes here."

"He (Smith) was in the right place at the right time," Crean said. "I don't know if it was drawn up or not. We didn't have a hand up like we would have liked."

The Golden Eagles have dropped three consecutive games since a season-tying eight-game undefeated streak. It's the first three-game slide for the season.

"We need to continue to try and stay positive and get the next win," James said.