Jan. 25, 2004
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Francisco Garcia scored 24 points Sunday night and No. 5 Louisville rallied in the second half for its 15th straight victory, 65-62 over Tennessee.
The Cardinals (15-1) regained the lead for the first time since the opening minutes and took control with a 12-0 run midway through the second half.
For the third straight meeting with Louisville, the Volunteers (10-5) kept the game close only to eventually fall short. Tennessee blew an 11-point lead last year and lost on a last-second shot the year before.
Trailing by seven points, the Cardinals went on their deciding run and led 48-43 with 8:28 left.
Garcia scored six points in the spurt, and Louisville's press got the Vols off track. Otis George had a slam off a turnover, and Garcia's steal and basket finished the run and silenced the crowd.
Garcia appeared to hurt his left ankle and had to be carried off the court with 1:28 left, but he came back into the game limping.
Tennessee, which could only get as close as two points after Louisville's big run, had one last gasp in the final seconds.
The Vols cut an eight-point lead to 62-59 on Justin Albrecht's 3-pointer with 13 seconds left. Louisville's Taquan Dean, who didn't play in the second half until the final minute because of a groin injury, made two free throws. But Tennessee's Scooter McFadgon hit a 3 to make it 64-62 with 4.1 seconds to go.
Tennessee appeared to get a break when Garcia looked like he slipped out of bounds, but the Vols were called for a foul and he made the last of two free throws to seal it and hand Tennessee its third straight loss.
Luke Whitehead finished with 13 points for Louisville, which had 16 turnovers and shot 39 percent from the field.
McFagdon, Tennessee's leading scorer, finished with 10 points but was 3-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.
The Vols looked headed for an upset after it staved off a Louisville rally earlier in the second half.
The Cardinals cut Tennessee's lead to 37-36 on George's dunk with 14:00 left, but Louisville turned the ball over on consecutive possessions to set off the Vols' 6-0 run.
Crump finished the run with a basket to make it 43-36 with 11:52 remaining.
The Cardinals trailed by as many as seven points in the first half and
trailed for only the third time this season at halftime.