LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Terry Rozier made clutch jumpers down the stretch, including a big 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining, to help No. 5 Louisville survive No. 14 Ohio State 64-55 Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Cardinals (6-0) were in danger of blowing a 17-point halftime lead before Rozier, playing with two left fingers taped together after dislocating them earlier in the second half, made three straight baskets in the final 3:49 including the key shot from behind the arc to provide a 59-53 lead.
Anas Mahmoud and Montrezl Harrell each added a free throw before Rozier made a steal with 16 seconds left and hit a foul shot to finish with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Wayne Blackshear’s two free throws with five seconds left sealed Louisville’s win. He finished with 22 points including four 3-pointers.
D’Angelo Russell shook off four fouls to scores 17 points for Ohio State (5-1), which still had chances to win despite shooting 30 percent. But the Buckeyes missed a couple of opportunities in the final minute and committed fouls that the Cardinals converted.
Harrrell had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Louisville, which shot just 35 percent.
Marc Loving added 13 points for Ohio State but fouled out with seven minutes left.
Improving shot selection and assists to turnovers were Louisville’s focus against an Ohio State squad that entered the game shooting 57 percent from the floor with guard Shannon Scott (10.4 assists) getting everybody involved. Containing Russell (18.0 points) was the Cardinals’ main concern, and Louisville coach Rick Pitino couldn’t complain about his team’s effort in limiting both players to five points combined on 2-of-12 shooting in the first half.
Those numbers spoke volumes about Louisville’s mix of matchup and man zone defenses that not only kept those two in check, but frustrated Ohio State in other areas. Besides forcing nine Ohio State turnovers, the Cardinals held the Buckeyes to 6-of-26 shooting (23 percent) and outrebounded them 28-17.
With that kind of defense, Louisville’s 35 percent first-half shooting on more perimeter shots than their coach wanted didn’t matter. At least Blackshear succeeded, scoring 16 points including back-to-back 3-pointers as Louisville led 35-18 at the break.
Ohio State didn’t flinch and scored six straight points to get within 37-24 early in the second half. The Buckeyes’ prospects appeared damaged when Russell went to the bench with his fourth foul with 16:18 left. Ohio State kept fighting back but Louisville’s 10-of-29 shooting from long range was the difference with several coming at key moments.
Tuesday night’s 9:30 tipoff figures to be the latest for both programs until tournament time, but for Louisville it marks the first of four games this season with 9 p.m. starts. In fact, the Cardinals face Indiana at 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Jimmy V Classic in New York.
Louisville also has late starts next month in ACC play against Clemson and at Boston College. Ohio State has it somewhat easier, playing a late game at Minnesota on Jan. 6.
Ohio State: Scott had zero assists in 22 minutes after combining for 11 in the previous two games.
Louisville: The Cardinals face their third and final Big Ten opponent with Indiana on Tuesday in New York.
Ohio State: Hosts Colgate on Saturday.
Louisville: Hosts Florida International on Friday.
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