Published January 22, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Marshon Brooks scored 27 points and Gerard Coleman had a career-high 19 to lead Providence to a 72-67 victory over No. 19 Louisville on Saturday.
It was the first conference victory for the Friars (12-8, 1-6 Big East) in 51 weeks, and their first win over former coach Rick Pitino.
Chris Smith had a season-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds for Louisville (15-4, 4-2). The Cardinals went 4 for 23 from 3-point range — missing all 12 attempts in the second half, including several airballs in the final minute as they struggled to make a comeback.
Pitino has faced Providence seven times since he led the school to the 1987 Final Four, then left to coach the New York Knicks. He never faced the Friars with Kentucky.
Louisville rallied from 18 points down to beat Marquette 71-70 on Saturday, then beat St. John's on Wednesday. The Friars had not won a Big East game since beating then-No. 19 Connecticut on Jan. 27, also their last victory over a team ranked in The Associated Press Top 25.
But Providence played then-No. 5 Syracuse closely, and then went to the final minute against both St. John's and then Pittsburgh when the Panthers were ranked No. 5 in the country.
Louisville led 43-39 at halftime, but Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers at the start of the second half and Coleman added a basket to give the Friars a 47-44 lead. Providence led 54-53 — on another Brooks 3-pointer — when the Cardinals scored four straight to take a 57-54 lead with just under 9 minutes remaining.
Kyle Kuric made a pair of free throws for Louisville to tie it 61-all with under 4 minutes left, then Brooks hit another 3 to give Providence the lead for good. After Peyton Siva scored off an inbounds pass for Louisville to make it a one-point game, Vincent Council made a bank shot in the lane and then another short jumper.
After Louisville's third straight missed 3-pointer, Coleman hit a pair of free throws to make it 70-63 with 26 seconds left.
In all, the Cardinals missed seven 3-point attempts in the final 4:14. Brooks was 4 for 5 from 3-point range in the second half, when he scored 20 of his points.