In a defensive struggle, Louisville knocked off Cincinnati 50-44 in Madison Square Garden to claim the Big East basketball championship.
Neither team played particularly well on offense and the ugly game was evident by the fact that each team shot under 40% on the game. But Louisville won this game largely in part to free throws. The Cardinals shot 11-12 from the stripe while the Bearcats went a horrific 1-7.
Louisville was also able to overcome 14 turnovers by outrebounding Cincinnati, 33-26, led by Gorgui Dieng’s ten.
Offense was sparse, and both teams’ benches had historically bad nights and neither side got even a single field goal from their backups. Cincinnati’s reserves went scoreless attempting only three shots while Louisville only had one bench player get into the scoring column – guard Russ Smith, who had only four points on free throws. But the Cardinals got just enough from its starters and were led by guards Chris Smith and Peyton Siva, who totaled 25.
For more on the Big East Tournament, check out SB Nation’s Big East blog, Big East Coast Bias.