ATLANTA (AP) — After all the upsets in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the top overall seed has captured the championship.
Backup Luke Hancock scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half and Louisville won its third national title by rallying for an 82-76 win over No. 4 Michigan. Hancock shot 5-for-5 from three-point range after coming off the bench to score 20 in the Cardinals’ semifinal win over Wichita State. He was 13-for-18 from the field in the last two games to be named the most outstanding player of the Final Four.
Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan were mostly silent in the first half before helping the Cardinals outscore the Wolverines 45-38 in the second. Siva finished with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Behanan chipped in 15 points and 13 boards.
The Wolverines appeared to have the game in control after Tim Hardaway Jr.’s layup put them ahead 35-23 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half. But the Cardinals closed the period on a 14-3 run and led by as many as 10 in the second half en route to their first championship since 1986. It was the second straight game Louisville pulled out a victory after trailing by a dozen.
Fittingly, Kevin Ware was the last Louisville player to cut down the nets. Ware was among the celebrants just over a week after he suffered a broken leg in the Cardinals’ win over Duke.
Michigan guard Trey Burke finished with a game-high 24 points despite early foul trouble that kept him on the bench for the last 12 minutes of the first half. Backup Spike Albrect finished with 17 points and Hardaway added 12, but foul trouble limited Mitch McGary to six points and six rebounds.
The outcome makes Rick Pitino the first coach to win an NCAA men’s basketball crown at two schools, 17 years after leading Kentucky to the championship. The latest win came hours after he was among seven people elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Joining Pitino in the class of 2013 are former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell, former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis, former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.
The inductions will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts in September.