NCAA Tournament: Cardinals fall to Spartans in Elite Eight


The 2014/15 season came to an end today for Rick Pitino and his Louisville Cardinals, as they went ice cold from the floor in the second half and fell by six in overtime 76-70.

The game got going with the Spartans winning the jump, missing their first shot, and the Cardinals getting on the board first after a nice pass from Wayne Blackshear to Montrez Harrell for a nice slam dunk. Travis Trice then knocked down a three pointer for Sparty’s first points of the game. From the get go, it was a back and forth game, and that continued all the way until the final play of the half, when Jaylen Johnson gave the Cards a 40-32 lead at halftime.

Louisville Cardinals
Louisville Cardinals /

Louisville Cardinals

Tom Izzo must of have him team a pep talk at the half as his Spartans opened up the second half on a 7-2 run and made Rick Pitino call a timeout. Michigan State continued to out-work the Cardinals and led by 8 at the 12 minute timeout. After two free throws by Gavin Schnilling, the Spartans trailed 51-49 with 9:40 remaining in the game.

Michigan State continued to attack and took the lead at 54-51 with 8:20 left after a three pointer in transition. Rick Pitino, of course, had to call a timeout. The timeout didn’t help much, as Travis Trice knocked down a three to make the score 57-51 in the Spartans favor; part of a 10-0 run for Sparty. At the second to last media timeout of the game, the score remained the same at 57-51.

The drought finally ended for the Cardinals after a steal and lay-in by Teddy Rozier. But Denzel Valentine matched it with a jumper for MSU. Schilling fouled Montrezl Harrel, sending him to the line – he hits both. UofL still down, 59-55 with five minutes to go.

Things continued to happen, and Michigan State held a 59-55 lead over Louisville at the final media timeout of the contest. The Cardinals received some life after an and-one by Wayne Blackshear and cut the Spartans lead to three at 61-58 with 3:38 to go in the Elite Eight game. Costello then missed a dunk for MSU, Louisville rebounded, and Rick Pitino called a timeout to put Blackshear (with a bloody nose and four fouls) back into the ball game.

Rozier got tied up for a jump ball and Valentine scored for MSU and moved their lead to five at 63-58. Harrell then hit one free throw, MSU missed, and Wayne Blackshear knocked down a huge three to make it 63-62 in the Spartans favor with 1:25 to play. Izzo timeout. As you can see, the Cardinals do not want to lose.

Valentine got blocked out of the timeout, Blackshear sprinted down the court, and got fouled. He knocked down both free throws and have the Cards the lead at 64-63 with 1:10 to go. Clark Jr. then hit a tough shot for MSU to give them a one point lead. Teddy Rozier couldnt match it, and missed a pull-up jumper. Mathiang fouled trying to get the rebound, and the Spartans headed to the line for two. They hit one and lead 65-64. Rozier runs down the court and Pitino calls timeout with 12 seconds to go to try and set up a winning play. Blackshear inbounds to Rozier, he misses a lay-in, Mathiang rebounds, gets fouled on the put back, and heads to the line for two with his team down one – he hits one, Spartans rebound, time runs out, and both teams head to overtime to play 5 more minutes tied at 65.

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Michigan State knocked down a three to open the extra period and Montrezl Harrell hit one out of two free throws. MSU lead 68-66 with 3:30 left. A minute rolls by, and Forbes is fouled by UofL and heads to the line – he hits both and the Spartans lead 70-66 with 2:27 to go. The run continues for Michigan State after a lay-in by Denzel Valentine. Rozier then matched it. Spartans then go dry on a possession and Wayne Blackshear headed to the line for free throws – he hit both. Cardinals down 72-70 with under one to play. Timeout Tom Izzo with 45.3 to go in the contest. Cardinals turn the ball over, foul MSU, and they hot both and lead 76-70 with 10.1 to go.

That did it, as Louisville’s season ends in the hands of Michigan State in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Cardinals finish season 26-9 overall.

Michigan State advances to the Final Four in Indianapolis and will play Duke in the early game in Indianapolis on Saturday.