The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 8, 2013

The final showdown

(Continued)

ATLANTA —

Louisville, inspired by the gruesome injury to Kevin Ware but needing others to step up while he’s down, got an even bigger contribution off the bench than Michigan.

Luke Hancock scored 20 points. Walk-on Tim Henderson, moving up in the rotation because of Ware’s broken leg, knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers that turned the momentum when it looked as though Wichita State might pull off another shocker.

There’s always a chance for the more obscure players to step up on the biggest stages.

“Those guys, not that you don’t pay attention to them, but your strategy is not toward them.” Pitino said. “We’re all trying to stop the great players defensively, choreograph our defensive plan to stop the great players.”

But there’s no doubt that Michigan needs Burke to have a much better game, especially against Louisville fearsome press, just as the Cardinals will be counting on Russ Smith to lead the way. He scored 21 points in the semifinals despite a woeful night at the foul line.

Smith is on the verge of completing quite a journey, considering it looked for a while like he might not even finish his career with the Cardinals. Unhappy with his playing time and constantly sparring with Pitino, the now-junior guard considered transferring after his freshman season.

Boy, he’s sure glad he stayed.

“I was leaving, but I talked to my dad and decided to come back,” Smith remembered. “I decided to work hard and try to earn some minutes.”

He still gets into it with Pitino from time to time — remember, the coach dubbed him “Russdiculous” for some of the shots he puts up — but it’s hard to envision where this team might be without him.

“I just try to make winning plays,” Smith said. “I don’t look at myself as a point guard or a shooting guard. I look at myself as a winning player.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014

Facebook