No. 19 Louisville 75, Hofstra 66
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Louisville climbed six spots in the Top 25 without playing a game. On Thursday, they almost fell from the ranks.
Louisville was pushed by a Hofstra team that simply refused to quit before finally defeating the Flying Dutchmen 75-66 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Shootout.
Twice the Cardinals opened double-digit leads, and twice Hofstra came back. Freshman Marques Maybin led Louisville with 22 points.
``Everyone has to learn how to prepare mentally,″ said coach Denny Crum, who began his 27th season at Louisville (1-0). ``We have so many guys who haven’t been through it, they don’t know what to expect. I think some of them learned something about themselves.″
One thing the Cardinals learned is that they have a star-in-the-making in Maybin, who stopped a third-quarter Hofstra rally with a key 3-pointer that gave Louisville a 51-45 lead.
Roberto Guittens led Hofstra (1-2) with 18 points. Despite Louisville’s height advantage, Hofstra outrebounded the Cardinals 18-15 in the first half.
``It wasn’t a fluke,″ said Hofstra coach Jay Wright. ``They got it done, so you have to give Louisville credit. But I told our guys this is something. We can use it to believe in each other and believe in what we’re doing.″
Louisville seemed to have taken control of the game when it opened a 23-12 first-quarter lead. But Hofstra went on an 11-0 run to tie it with 5:45 left in the first half.
Hofstra took its first lead at 27-25, but Louisville’s Nate Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 left in the half to put the Cardinals ahead 32-29.
In the third, Louisville jumped out to a 46-35 lead and again seemed on the verge of putting away Hofstra. But Mike Renfro converted on a 3-pointer to start a 10-2 run that made it 48-45 going into the final quarter.
``Hofstra was obviously ready,″ said Crum. ``They came out and played their hearts out.″
Louisville plays Illinois in a semifinal game Friday, while St. John’s meets Georgia Tech in the other semifinal. Hofstra meets Wichita State and Alabama plays American University of Puerto Rico in consolation games.
Georgia Tech 62, Alabama 60
Matt Harpring scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Yellow Jackets (2-0). The Crimson Tide (1-3) had a final chance but Demetrius Alexander missed a jumper with time running out.
Illinois 70, Wichita State 57
The Fighting Illini (4-0) used a 21-9 third-quarter run to beat the Shockers. Jerry Hester had 21 points and seven rebounds for Illinois. Terry Hankton had 18 for Wichita (2-1).
St. John’s 93, American University of Puerto Rico 81
Freshman Ron Artest, making his first start of the season, scored 24 points and Felipe Lopez had a game-high 27 for the Red Storm (3-0). Eddin Santiago scored 26 points for American.