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New Mexico Its Own Worst Enemy in One-Point Loss

East: Lobos victims of an ill-advised shot, foul in falling to Louisville, 64-63. Texas holds off Coppin State, 82-81.

March 17, 1997|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The foul was bad, the final shot even worse. The combination gave New Mexico yet another way to lose in the NCAA tournament.

As usual, Louisville knew how to win.

David Gibson missed an over-the-head layup with 2.3 seconds to play Sunday, preserving Louisville's tense, 64-63 second-round East Regional victory, which gave the Cardinals their fourth trip to the round of 16 in five seasons.

"We did it with mirrors," said Louisville Coach Denny Crum, who moved past Bobby Knight into third place in NCAA tournament wins with 41. "But these kids find a way to win. They've done it all year, and they did it again."

New Mexico (25-8) has never won consecutive NCAA tournament games.

Louisville's B.J. Flynn was called for traveling with 16.2 seconds to play. The Lobos wanted Charles Smith or Clayton Shields to get the ball. Instead, Gibson, who had not scored in the second half, took off near the top of the circle, drove the lane and threw the ball up over his shoulder. Flynn cradled the rebound as time ran out.

Still, the Cardinals (25-8) might not have won it at all had New Mexico forward Kenny Thomas not fouled out by elbowing Damion Dantzler on the first of two Nate Johnson free throws with 3:53 left.

Johnson and Dantzler made all four free throws, making it 62-56.

Texas 82, Coppin State 81--Reggie Freeman scored 22 points and DeJuan Vazquez stole an inbounds pass from Coppin State's Fred Warrick with four seconds to play to preserve the Longhorns' win.

Freeman had 17 points in the second half for Texas (18-11), which denied the bid by the Eagles (22-9) to become the first 15th-seeded team to reach the round of 16. They came close.

Coppin State was behind by 10 points at halftime, but started the second half with a 10-4 run.

From there it stayed close, and the crowd boosted Coppin State, a Baltimore school so small it had to borrow a band from nearly Morgan State for the tournament.

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