Tre White celebrates a rare UofL basketball win in top photo. Coach Kenny Payne and Nolan Smith looking for answers in bottom photo (Mike DeZarn photos).

By now you know that the University of Louisville basketball team edged the University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC) 94-93. A slug-it-out, come-from-behind victory, the kind of game UofL always lost a season ago.

When Tre White came up with a rebound after a missed UMBC free throw before the horn, he leaped in the air with joy shrieking wi joy. It was s fight to the finish. It looked for a long time like UofL was going to be outclassed by another historically inferior basketball program. 

Louisville finally tied the game up at 81-81 going into the stretch after having trailed by as many as 13 points at one point. In the first half, the visitors were shooting over 60 percent at one point.  They led at intermission 48-40.

UMBC got good shot after good shot in the first half, racing out to double digit lead. In the second half, they were (16/34) and made six of 12 threes. For the game UNBC made 11 of 21 threes. On this night the Cardinals s just wouldn’t quit and that’s the best news. Big news after last season’s 4-28 di saster.

The final three minutes were filled with big shots. Mike James led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds, his first double, double. J.J. Traynor added 13 points and three rebounds and Ty-le Johnson provided some spark off the bench with his hustle, passing and defenseth

Luck is something you can make. Louisville was lucky to win this one. But the Cardinals were way overdue. They showed fight, desire and toughness which UofL Coach Kenny Payne wanted to see. No doubt they have a lot of issues to correct. A desire to win wasn’t one of them this night.

“We needed this win and the guys in that locker room need this win,” said Payne.

The Cards got a big game from James who will be heavily relied until others some of the new roster players learn. “He told me at halftime,” said James. “Play this (half) like it is for the rest of the season.”

No one really knows what a one-point victory over UMBC means but it was a much needed for a program with its back against the wall.

The Cardinal Bird can only do so much but he keeps the fans in the game (Mike DeZarn photo).
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By Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.

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