Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Quentin Snider scored 16 points, including two go-ahead free throws with less than 10 seconds to play, to help the fourth-seeded Louisville Cardinals win 57-55 over upset-minded UC Irvine.
Luke Nelson's long 3-pointer with 12 seconds left missed for UC Irvine, and Snider chased down the loose ball in the corner and took a foul. After he hit both free throws, Louisville's tough defense forced Alex Young to commit a game-ending turnover.
Wayne Blackshear led the Cardinals (25-8) with 19 points and seven rebounds and Terry Rozier added 12 points. Louisville will now play fifth-seeded Northern Iowa on Sunday.
"We're very excited to move on," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "We knew it would be a fight."
The 13th-seeded Anteaters (21-13) were making their first-ever tournament appearance in 38 seasons as a Division I program. Will Davis II paced them with 14 points and nine boards, 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye added 12 points and Nelson scored 10.
"It's hard not to look around that locker room and feel incredible pride," said Anteaters coach Russell Turner.
Louisville was ahead for most of the second half and took its largest lead of the period when Blackshear hit a 3 near the midpoint for a 44-39 edge. The Cardinals would then go cold, though, missing their next seven shots.
The Anteaters chipped away and with four minutes to go, Nelson's jumper gave them their first lead since early in the half at 51-50. It would be short-lived after Blackshear converted a 3-point play on the ensuing possession.
With two minutes left, Blackshear's turnover led to a UC Irvine fastbreak. Young missed the initial shot and Aaron Wright could not put back the offensive rebound, but Davis followed and tipped the ball in to tie the game at 53-53. On the Anteaters' next possession, Nelson hit a floater to give the Anteaters the lead with a minute left.
After a timeout, Blackshear tied the game when he drove from the top of the key and finished with an acrobatic layup, going around Ndiaye before banking the shot in. UC Irvine called timeout again, but settled for Nelson's ill- fated shot.
UC Irvine got off to a great start in its first tournament game. After Louisville's Montrezl Harrell missed a jumper on the opening possession, Travis Souza hit a 3 at the other end to give the Anteaters some early momentum.
Late in the first half, Louisville began to play like the higher-seeded team. Blackshear scored four during an 11-0 Cardinals run that put them ahead 30-23. However, Nelson's 3 and Davis' tip-in at the buzzer cut Louisville's lead to 30-28 at the break.
This was the first meeting between the teams ... The teams combined to attempt just eight free throws but made all of them... The benches scored a combined nine points ... Harrell, a first-team All-ACC player, finished with eight points and four rebounds in 38 minutes.