Well whaddayaknow, the usually brick-chucking Louisville Cardinals chose a game against Cincinnati to drain every big shot needed to thwart repeated second-half comeback attempts.
Anybody seen Louisville play any other game this season? If so, then you spent the next day or so getting puke stains out of your clothes, couch cushions and carpet. Against Kentucky, it took almost the entire first half for this boring collection of stiffs to even crack double effin' digits.
But, as the life of a Cincinnati Bearcat basketball fan continues to be gut-wrenching and ballpain-inducing, Rick Pitino's no-name squad made every single shot they needed to make down the stretch to hold off Cashmere Wright and the crew, taking the final match between the rivals at Freedom Hall by eight points.
The game started off well for Cincinnati (13-7, 4-4 Big East), as my first check of the score showed a 19-11 lead for Mick Cronin's boys (I enjoyed an ultra-hazy weekend filled with a trippy Pink Floyd Experience show on Friday night, so I got a late start Sunday morning).
On my way to work, I soon found out from my boy Swaney that Louisville had closed the gap to 26-22, and that freshman Lance Stephenson had banged home 12 quick points on 5-for-5 shooting (that would be all "Born Ready" would get).
When I arrived at the office, and finally got my computer logged in, I saw the one-point Cardinal halftime lead. Cincy had blown a double-digit first half lead (and most likely their load too early), just as it had two weeks earlier at Seton Hall (lost 83-76).
Then I was able to log on to www.channelsurfing.net and pick up the live feed for the second half.
After UC's Jaquon Parker Andre-Miller'ed (he looks just like him) in a tough, contested 3-pointer, making it a two-point deficit with about 14 minutes left, eighth-year senior Jerry Smith walked right down the lane for an uncontested layup and then Reginald (who goes by the name "Reginald" anymore? What is he, a white Englishman on Family Guy competing in drive-by arguments?) Delk drained a three from the corner. 45-38 Louisville, just like that.
(Lots of yelling and loud cussing from me at this point. Luckily I'm the only person in the entire office building on Sundays.)
UC summoned a rally after trailing 50-40, capped with threes by senior Deonta Vaughn and redshirt-frosh Cashmere Wright, cutting the lead to 54-52 at the 6:40 mark. Then, on cue, Delk promptly rattles in a three while falling into his own bench on the sideline, anvil-footed Samardo Samuels hits a jumper in the lane, and then Crybaby-of-the-Century Edgar Sosa fakes getting fouled on a drive/makes both free throws. Back to a nine point lead for Louisville in the blink of a f*****' eye.
(More yelling, some desk-pounding, and a semi-fervent cell phone throw from me.)
UC made one final charge late, cutting the deficit down to four points after Cashmere Wright, who looked much more confident than he has all season, smoothly stuck a trey with 2:42 to go.
On Louisville's next possession, the Bearcats nearly forced a steal with a deflection, but Cardinal big man Terrence Jennings saved the ball right to Edgar "Tear Factory" Sosa, who of-coursedly and nauseatingly drained a back-breaking three.
Tough loss, but honestly, UC played really, really well in this ballgame, save for two categories. Turnovers, which have been a problem on the road lately (18 turnovers per game in the last three, all losses), killed UC. 15 turnovers, and you lose by eight. Meanwhile the normally-inept offense was clicking like a Bushman in The Gods Must Be Crazy, including 10-20 from behind the arc. You keep six or eight of those wasted possessions and more than likely, you win the game.
Also, free throw shooting dooms UC again. This time it was lack of attempts. UC goes 4-4, Louisville goes 15-19. That's a devastating obstacle to overcome in a heated rivalry game when both teams desperately need a win. Message to Bearcat players: If you don't attack and try to bust through full-court pressure or a 2-3 zone, guess what...the other team ain't backin' off.
Next up, vs. Providence Jan 30. The Friars swept UC last season, but Weyenmi Efejuku and that annoying big goofy lefty Hanke guy both graduated. Payback time for Biggie McClain and the Bearcats.
If you need some motivation for an upcoming lift session, here's the box score.