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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peyton Siva Plays Hero Again as Louisville Upsets UConn in Double Overtime

If you're a Louisville fan and it's late in a close game, what you want to see most is no longer a Preston Knowles 3-pointer.

Peyton Siva's late game heroics again saved the Cards, who -- again -- rallied late for a 79-78 win over Connecticut in Storrs.

Wednesday, a Siva layup with less than five seconds remaining gave the Cards a win over West Virginia. Against UConn Saturday, Siva twice beat his man to get to the rim for driving lay ups to first push the game into overtime, and, later, double OT.

No. 23 Louisville (17-4, 6-2) fell behind by as many as nine points in the second half, and were down seven with four minutes remaining. A Kyle Kuric three tied the game late in regulation, leading to Siva's late bucket.

No. 5 Connecticut (17-3, 5-3) grabbed a four point lead in overtime, but a late Mike Marra three pulled Louisville back within one. Shabazz Napier only hit one of two free throws, and Siva blew past the freshman on the other end for an uncontested dunk to send the game to a second extra period.

Two quick threes by the Cards put the Huskies in an early hole in the second OT, but UConn fought back. With Louisville up one, Chris Smith missed back to back free throws. Kemba Walker's deep three rimmed out, securing the win for Louisville.

Jeremy Lamb led all scorers with 21 points -- 14 of which came in the first half -- and Walker added 20. Siva led Louisville with 19 points and seven assists. Terrence Jennings had 16 points and 10 boards, while Knowles added 15 points.

How it Was Won: Patience. In this slew of comeback victories for the Cards, they have shown remarkable resilience an patience when fighting back. They never force the issue and they wait for the chances to come. And when they need a three, they have a knack for hitting it almost every time.

How it Was Lost: With a comfortable second half lead, Conne cticut fell into the trap that has befallen two Big East teams before them. Instead of attacking and trying to score at the rim, UConn -- like Marquette and West Virginia before them -- settled for long jump shots. Louisville, again, took full advantage of their complacency and stole one on the road.

Emerging Compliments for Kemba: In the last couple of games, a promising trend has emerged for the Huskies. Two freshmen, Lamb and Napier, have stepped up their roles in terms of scoring. The Huskies need it now, as Walker is mired in a mini-slump that has spanned three games now.

Where to From Here: With Villanova's loss Saturday, Louisville assumes second place in the Big East by themselves. They go to Georgetown Monday before a home game with DePaul before another road test against Notre Dame. UConn gets a spiraling Syracuse team, losers in its last three, at home Wednesday night.

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