LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Virginia Cavaliers let Louisville’s pressure get to them.
Mangok Mathiang made a 15-footer with 2.7 seconds left to give No. 16 Louisville the lead in a 59-57 victory over No. 2 Virginia on Saturday night.
Virginia (28-2, 16-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had 13 turnovers after committing just two against the Cardinals in last month in a 52-47, and lost for the first time on the road this season.
“Their ball pressure was terrific,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “They forced us into some turnovers - some careless ones we made. It was electric in here.”
Evan Notle’s inbounds pass went wide for Virginia’s final turnover, ending the Cavaliers’ chance for a last-second win and giving Louisville the ball back underneath its own goal. Terry Rozier made a free throw for the final margin.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t go in,” said Malcolm Brogdon, who led Virginia with 17 points, 16 coming in the second half. “But if it did, I was hoping we’d get a shot, but we ended up turning it over.”
Bennett said it was “ironic” that the man usually inbounding the ball in that situation is Justin Anderson, the Cavaliers’ second-leading scorer who has been out the past month with a broken finger. Anderson missed Saturday’s game after needing an appendectomy on Thursday. Bennett couldn’t say if Anderson would be back in time for next week’s ACC tournament.
“I hope it’s sooner rather than later,” Bennett said about Anderson’s return.
After Brogdon hit his fourth 3 of the half to give Virginia a 57-56 lead with 13 second left, the Cardinals ran a play hoping to set up one of its two stars, guard Terry Rozier or forward Montrezl Harrell. But when was Rozier was double-teamed he found Mathiang open at the free throw line for the winner and his only points of the game.
“Mangok was the 64th option,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino quipped.
It was Mathiang’s second field goal since Jan. 31 and even he was surprised.
“I was just shocked that I made it,” Mathiang admitted. “I was running, then Trez came hugged me and everybody was around me. This is a real big deal.”
A big deal indeed. Louisville (24-7, 12-6) snapped Virginia’s nine-game winning streak. The win clinched fourth place in the conference for the Cardinals, earning them a spot in the quarterfinals to start the ACC tournament.
Virginia didn’t seem fazed by the way they played the game’s critical moment.
“I don’t want to say I expected him to not make, but I was OK with the way we defended that possession,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.
Guard London Perrantes was even more direct in his assessment.
“I’d let him shoot it 10 times out of 10,” said Perrantes, who finished with seven points but four of the Cavaliers’ 13 turnovers.
Harrell had 20 points and 12 rebounds in his last home game for Louisville. The preseason All-America junior is expected to enter this year’s NBA draft.
Rozier and Quentin Snider each added 11 points for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals led 52-44 with 5:56 remaining after two Harrell free throws. Virginia pulled even with an 8-0 run in 1:42, capped by Nolte’s 3 with 4:08 remaining.
Wayne Blackshear’s driving layup with 2:47 left was Louisville’s first field goal in more than 7 minutes and put the Cardinals up by 2 with 2:47 to play.
Rozier’ stepback 16-footer from the elbow with 1:52 left pushed the lead to 56-52 before Brogdon scored five straight.
Virginia: The Cavaliers entered Saturday first nationally in scoring defense at 49.9 points per game.
Louisville: Louisville’s 1975 Final Four team and the school’s first NCAA title winners from 1980 were honored at halftime.
Virginia: ACC tournament.
Louisville: ACC tournament.
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