LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Indiana needed a signature victory, something glossier than defeating Iowa. Louisville needed to dodge a questionable defeat against a team that is trending toward missing the NCAA Tournament.

Advantage, Louisville.

There will be no smudge on the Cardinals’ NCAA Tournament resume, not after Louisville rallied from a 10-point first-half hole to defeat the Hoosiers, 71-62, at the KFC Yum! Center Saturday afternoon.

There will be no non-conference bump in the Hoosiers’ credentials after Indiana could not shoot straight in the second half, missing all 12 of its three-point attempts and several opportunities to tie the game in the final five minutes.

“The most pleasing thing about that win, other than the final score, was the fact that it was a team win,” said U of L interim coach David Padgett.

“Give Louisville credit,” Miller said. “Our perimeter shooting in the second half put a lot of pressure on us.”

Coaches often lapse into Coach Speak. That was not Coach Speak from Padgett, whose team improved to 6-2, nor from Miller, whose team sits at 5-5.

Raymond Spalding and Malik Williams, two guys who picked Louisville over Indiana during the recruiting process, were critical to the Cardinals’ victory.

Spalding delivered his best overall performance this season, scoring 10 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking five shots. Any time he gives the Cardinals a game like that, he gives the Cardinals a solid chance at winning.

“That’s who Raymond Spalding is,” Padgett said. “I don’t know how many deflections he had. I didn’t ask. He covers for so many people (defensively) … if they get beat off the bounce or if they don’t communicate, his instincts on defense and his ability and wingspan help erase a lot of mistakes. It was pretty evident tonight.”

Ask Indiana. The Hoosiers averaged less that .9 points per possession, one of their worst offensive performance this season. Spalding was identified as Louisville's MVP in Ken Pomeroy's post-game metrics.

Williams hit back-to-back-to-back three-point shots in the first half, the key stretch in wiping away Indiana’s 23-13 lead. Those were the only nine points he scored, but they were essential.

“I knew Malik was a much better shooter than the way he was shooting the ball,” Padgett said.

But when Padgett said team win, he meant team win. Deng Adel scored 16. Quentin Snider had 13 with five assists and only one turnover.

Please do not overlook Ryan McMahon, who made his first contributions this season after mending from a pair of hairline fractures to ribs on his left side. McMahon was cleared to play by the U of L medical staff on Wednesday night. On Friday, he told Padgett that he wanted in the game.

“He looked like he was going to throw up, he was so nervous,” Padgett said.

Sure, McMahon made a three. He always makes a three.

But he also burned the Hoosiers with a pair of dazzling lob passes to Anas Mahmoud as well as two steals. The second, off a Josh Newkirk pass in the final minute, squashed any thoughts of an Indiana rally.

For the Hoosiers, the game was progress. Tortured progress, but progress nonetheless. Remember:  The average margin of defeat in Indiana’s losses to Indiana State, Seton Hall, Duke and Michigan was more than 15 points. The played the Cardinals even on the glass. They simply could not make shots.

Their defense was more formidable that it had been away from Assembly Hall this season as Louisville shot less than 43 percent. The Cards averaged just a bit (1.029) over a point per possession. Miller got solid efforts from his frontcourt, led by Juwan Morgan (17 points, 9 rebounds) and De’Ron Davis (14 points and 7 boards).

But the Hoosiers are still placing urgent calls to 1-800-SHOOTER.

They don’t have a Yogi Ferrell. Or Jordan Hulls. Or Brian Evans. Or Jay Edwards. Or  Steve Alford. Or Randy Wittman. Or Jimmy Rayl. Or (name your favorite IU shooter).

Indiana failed to make a three-point shot in the second half, missing a dozen. They finished 5 for 23, which is less than 22 percent.

The IU guards struggled from outside – and inside the three-point line. Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk, Al Durham and Devonte Green were 6 for 27 overall – 3 for 17 from distance but only 3 for 10 inside the line.

“If you go 0-for-12 from three, it’s going to be tough to overcome,” Miller said. “You have to be able to make open shots.”

The Hoosiers started like a team that believed it could win its first road game this season. They attacked the rim with confidence. They shared the ball. They played defense with more grit than they showed at Seton Hall or Michigan, games they lost by 16 and 14 points.

Their reward was a 12-2 lead after Collin Hartman scored from distance about five minutes into the game.

Padgett did not panic. He asked his team to upgrade its defensive effort, occasionally aligning the Cardinals in a full-court press. It helped. The Cards’ defensive push squeezed 15 turnovers out of the Hoosiers.

The defensive surge helped. Louisville scored the next seven points. But Indiana built the lead back to 10 (23-13) on another three-pointer, this one by Newkirk.

The three-point shot changed things – for Louisville, not Indiana. After missing nine of their first 10 shots from distance, the Cardinals made five straight. Williams had made only three of a dozen threes this season. He made three straight against the Hoosiers.

“It’s a matter of getting a couple to go, then you’re off to the races,” Padgett said.

Add a three from McMahon, his first field goal this season, as well as one from Deng Adel. Louisville cut Indiana’s lead to 36-35 at halftime.

Louisville’s three-point festival continued in the second half. Adel made another from the right wing to give Louisville its first lead, 38-36.

The Hoosiers regained the lead – and then an unlikely source joined the Cardinals’ three-point push. Spalding made one from the top of the lane. It was his third of the season and only the fourth of his career.

The triple put Louisville ahead, 46-45, before another basket by Spalding pushed the lead to three. Louisville pushed ahead by eight with less than six minutes to play. Davis had an opportunity to get Indiana within two points with 58 seconds to play, but he made only one of two free throws.

The Cardinals’ lead grew to 67-62 on a jumper by Adel. The McMahon steal of the careless Newkirk pass ended all the drama.

The Hoosiers have another week before they play another ranked opponent. They get Notre Dame next Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the second game of the Crossroads Classic. Purdue and Butler will be matched in the opener.

Louisville returns to the KFC Yum! Center Monday night to play Bryant, an outmatched low-major team from Rhode Island, which has lost eight of its first nine. Then the Cardinals travel to New York City for a game against Tubby Smith and his struggling Memphis team in Madison Square Garden.

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