Louisville put on a defensive show Saturday night, knocking out the Bearcats 50-44 on its way to its second Big East Championship. Their first Big East title was back in 2009.
The Cardinals (27-9, 10-8) gained an early lead and never gave it back after going on a 9-0 run early in the first half to take a 14-6 edge.
Chris Smith led the way for the Cardinals with 15 points including three big shots from beyond the 3-point line.
A huge crisis was also averted when Peyton Siva returned in the second half after landing oddly out of bounds. Siva was injured on an attempted layup and left for the final 3:19 of the initial half. He played exceptionally after returning:
The Cardinals held a 16-point lead with just over eight minutes remaining before Cincinnati made one last ditch effort only to be rebuffed. Free throws cost the Bearcats, who shot an atrocious 1 of 7 from the stripe.
Cincinnati (24-11, 12-6) was buoyed by Cashmere Wright, who put in 16 points on 7 of 12 shooting.
With the Big East Tournament over, both groups can get ready for the NCAA Tournament. Louisville has as much momentum as anybody entering the tourney while Cincinnati must also be feeling confident.