Louisville wins NCAA championship
Updated: 2013-04-10 11:41
Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) scores against the Michigan Wolverines in the first half of their NCAA men's Final Four championship basketball game in Atlanta, Georgia, April 8, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
ATLANTA - Louisville won the 75th edition of the NCAA men's basketball championship on Monday, beating Michigan 82-76 in a pulsating final in front of more than 74,000 fans at the Georgia Dome.
The Cardinals overcame a slow start, in which they twice trailed by 12 points in the first half, to outscore Michigan 45-38 in the second and capture their third national title after previous wins in 1980 and 1986.
Luke Hancock came off the bench and scored a career-best 22 points, including five three-pointers, while Peyton Siva added 18 points and Chane Behanan 15 for Louisville.
"We went into a war today against a great Michigan team," said Hancock, who was named the outstanding player of the tournament. "We needed to rally and we have done it a couple of games."
Trey Burke, the national player of the year, scored 24 points in a losing effort for the Wolverines while Spike Albrecht contributed 17 after coming off the bench, all in the first half.
"We fought for 40 minutes, there was never a time when we gave up," said Burke. "Louisville was just a really solid team at the end of the game."
Michigan made a flying start and built a double-digit lead before the Cardinals took control, matching the second biggest comeback in an NCAA final in the same massive building where the 'Dream Team' won Olympic gold in 1996.
Inspired by their teammate Kevin Ware, who broke his leg earlier in the tournament in a horrific fall, Louisville's players burst into celebration when the clock ran out and confetti rained down on the Georgia Dome court.
Injured Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware cuts down the net after the Cardinals defeated the Michigan Wolverines in their NCAA men's Final Four championship basketball game in Atlanta, Georgia, April 8, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]