Down 12 with 13:15 remaining, Louisville clawed back with defense that changed the game's atmosphere from "celebratory" to "panic attack," and hit just enough shots to surpass a Wichita State team whose game plan gradually fell apart in the final minutes. Of course, the comeback might not be the story of one the best Final Four games in recent memory. The story is what you see above, a lightning quick jump-ball call on a possession in which Wichita State could have tied the game. It more or less wrapped things up for Louisville, and probably should have been a no-call. Having advanced this far, the Shockers and their fans are rightfully pissed that the season ended on a ref's hasty intervention.
Still, the final result resembled a lot of predictions, and so did parts of the preceding 40 minutes. In macro, the two teams played exactly they way they both play: Wichita State was slow, tough and crashed the boards. Louisville disrupted passing lanes and played pressure defense, hurrying the game up and confusing the Shockers' game plan. In micro, less so: Cleanthony Early was his team's leading scorer this year, but tonight he had all the points, while Malcolm Armstead, Wichita's scoring guard, went 1-10. On the other end, Luke Hancock, the EMS first-responder that comforted Kevin Ware last week and apparently, a pretty good basketball player, had the game of his life. After averaging 7.4 and 2.6 this season, Hancock had 20 points, four rebounds, two steals, and seemingly every other big bucket for the Cardinals.
Oh, and he missed that free throw, and smartly grabbed at Ron Baker, which led to the instant jump ball. Oh, well—unless you have a rooting interest (sorry, Shockers fans!)—just hope that the next game is as exciting.