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After Hancock shot the Cardinals back within contact in the first half, Smith, Siva and Chane Behanan started scoring, slowly building a Louisville lead. Then it was Hancock with what was essentially the knockout blow _ a 3-pointer with 3:27 left that put Louisville up by double digits for the first time all night.

He became the first non-starter in a championship game to score 20-plus points since Ron Mercer in 1996, playing for Pitino at Kentucky.

“Coach Pitino made this feel like a home,” Hancock said. “I’m so excited for our team to be in this situation and finally be here.”