- Associated Press - Sunday, December 4, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Jeff Walz was more subdued in his postgame interview, but the Louisville coach didn’t back down from last week’s viral rant about losing being unacceptable.

Judging from the resilience his seventh-ranked Cardinals displayed in the clutch against No. 17 Kentucky, players got the message loud and clear.

Asia Durr scored four of her 15 points in overtime, including a key free throw with 2:47 remaining for a five-point lead, and Myisha Hines-Allen had 26 points before fouling out to help the Cardinals edge the Wildcats 69-67 on Sunday.

Louisville (7-2) ended a five-game losing streak in the annual Bluegrass rivalry. The Cardinals rallied from a 54-50 deficit with four minutes to tie the game twice and had a chance to win at the end of regulation but couldn’t get a shot off. They regrouped to score the first five points of OT behind Durr’s 3-pointer and the first of Hines-Allen’s two jumpers before she exited with 1:15 left.

Briahanna Jackson added a reverse layup and Jazmine Jones and Mariya Moore a free throw each that proved a cushion against Maci Morris’ 3 with five seconds left that got Kentucky (6-2) to 68-67.

Jackson added a free throw with 4.1 left and Louisville sealed off Taylor Murray long enough for the horn to sound and spark a celebration for the Cardinals and their fans.

“(Louisville athletic director) Tom Jurich talked to us after practice one day and he was telling us just how important this game is,” said Hines-Allen, who made 13 of 22 from the field. “We hadn’t beaten Kentucky in five years, so this was not only for us but the city was well.”

The win ended a two-game losing skid and provided some vindication after Walz questioned his team’s resolve after a 78-72 loss to No. 5 Maryland and talked about entitlement in postgame comments that are still getting online hits.

This time, Walz had nothing but praise for his team after their gut-check performance.

“We fought, which I was proud of,” Walz said. “I stand 100 percent behind my postgame comments, which I never believed would get to where it was. Let’s not be so sensitive.”

Makayla Epps had 22 points and 16 rebounds and Murray 21 points for Kentucky, which shot 42 percent from the field in its attempt for a second straight win over a ranked team. Morris had 10 points.

“We were in it the whole time,” Epps said. “If she (Taylor) had one more second on the shot clock, who knows? If it had went in maybe we would have won in double overtime. Overall it was a great game on both sides.”

THE BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats’ zone defense succeeded in denying passing lanes inside and forcing Louisville to shoot a lot from the perimeter with little success. On the other hand, they committed 19 turnovers leading to 18 points, were beaten 49-40 on the boards and seemed to be a step slow as OT began.

“In overtime we might have been a little gassed, a little fatigued,” coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We just couldn’t stay organized.”

Louisville: Teams don’t often win shooting 37 percent from the field and 9 of 20 (45 percent) from the foul line, but the Cardinals somehow overcame those numbers. Walz’s postgame rant after the loss to Maryland seemed to do the trick as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 17-4 on second-chance points and didn’t let a late deficit bother them. Moore had eight points and Jones seven. Jackson and Cortnee Walton had 10 rebounds each.

NO HARD FEELINGS

While social media offered up a lot of feedback to Walz’s comments, Hines-Allen said her coach’s assessment was right.

“We all took it to heart,” she said. “We knew we had Kentucky coming in next, so we had to chew it had to take it and come ready to play. It started in practice because we had energy that next day. He was completely right.”

UP NEXT

Kentucky: Hosts Middle Tennessee on Friday night. The Wildcats lead the series 14-4 with four straight wins.

Louisville: Returns from finals to host another in-state rival in Western Kentucky on Sunday. The Cardinals trail the series 20-15 and lost 71-69 last season in Bowling Green.

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More AP College Basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org


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