In what should have been a signature win over the No. 1 team in the country, Louisville let slip a four-point lead with 0.9 seconds left to play in a loss to Virginia that left the college basketball world stunned.
March Madness, indeed. A win would have likely helped Louisville earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Thursday night’s loss could prove devastating to those hopes.
Pundits, former players and fans took to Twitter to express their disbelief.
Up 66-62 with six seconds left, Louisville’s Darius Perry fouled Virginia’s Ty Jerome on a three-point attempt as the Cavaliers scrambled up court. Jerome made the first two free throws and missed the third intentionally to try to set up an offensive rebound and tip-in to tie the game with 0.9 seconds left.
But a lane violation on Virginia instead gave the ball to Louisville out of bounds underneath the Virginia basket. Deng Adel stepped in to deliver the inbounds pass, but traveled as he moved down the baseline to get it in. The inbounds did not come off a made basket, so Adel could not move his feet.
“I kind of forgot I couldn’t move,” said Adel (18 points), who was consoled by Cardinals teammates after the buzzer. “Usually they allow me to run the baseline (and) will allow running the baseline after a score. I just forgot I couldn’t take an extra step and I was just trying to get it to Darius.”
That gave Virginia the ball down 66-64 with a chance to tie or win. De’Andre Hunter sprang free at the wing, caught the pass and shot it with time to spare, banking in a three-pointer for the 67-66 victory as the buzzer sounded.
“I just knew I had to get a shot off quick,” said Hunter, standing in a boot with his right knee wrapped in ice after turning it in practice this week. “The play wasn’t originally drawn up for me, but Ty (Jerome) told me to step back and if I had a look to shoot it. That’s what I did, and it’s my first game-winner ever.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.