Siva's layup lifts No. 6 Cards over Vandy in OT
By COLIN FLY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Peyton Siva's teammates wondered why he didn't end the game in regulation when he had a chance and deferred to a freshman. Given a second chance, Siva finished with a flourish.
Siva drove through the middle of Vanderbilt's defense for a layup with 1.4 seconds left and No. 6 Louisville rallied to beat the 20th-ranked Commodores 62-60 in overtime on Friday night.
"In the overtime, I was just like, `I've got to make this layup and get these guys out of here because they're making it too close,'" said Siva, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists. "I just got the layup."
The Cardinals (7-0) came back from two big deficits - nine in the second half and five in overtime to continue their theme from last year when they rallied from seven or more down nine different times. Kyle Kuric's 16-footer gave Louisville a 60-58 lead with 34 seconds left.
"It's a treat to coach these guys because you see great comebacks," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "There are times you think you're dead and then you just look up and you win the game."
John Jenkins, who finished with 27 points, hit two free throws for the Commodores (5-3) to tie it with 12.2 seconds to play, but Siva broke the defense on a high pick-and-roll and got to the hoop for the game-winning basket.
"He's a really fast guard," Jenkins said. "He got in the lane at will. He's a good player."
Siva, who has been hobbled recently by a sprained left ankle, smiled watching his big layup on replay following Louisville's 15th straight win in the KFC Yum! Center.
Louisville freshman Chane Behanan finished with 14 points, but Behanan blew a chance to win it in regulation when he missed a short shot at the buzzer. He'd make amends in overtime.
"I was just speechless. I couldn't believe I blew a wide-open layup. A wide-open layup," Behanan said. "I literally cried. Tears came out and coach Pitino saw that and got on me."
Jenkins gave Vanderbilt a 55-50 lead when he opened overtime with a 3-pointer, then added two free throws with 2:29 left. Behanan answered with a three-point play. After the two teams traded a pair of free throws, Kuric, who finished with 15 points, hit a 3-pointer that gave Louisville a 58-57 lead.
Brad Tinsley tied it with a free throw before Kuric's jumper set up the final sequence when Jenkins hit two free throws and Siva easily passed Lance Goulbourne down the lane, hitting a finger-roll layup with 1.4 seconds left.
"It was two teams really, really getting after each other," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "They just made one more play than we did."
Behanan deflected Tinsley's full-court desperation pass as time expired. Goulbourne and Jeffery Taylor finished with 11 points apiece.
It was the first true road game for a Vanderbilt team that had been ranked seventh in the preseason poll - ahead of Louisville at the time - and while the Cardinals have weathered injuries, the Commodores have struggled.
Vanderbilt is still without Festus Ezeli (right knee) for two more weeks and also lost Josh Henderson (left foot). Henderson is scheduled to have surgery Monday to put a screw in his foot and will miss eight to 12 weeks.
Louisville is missing Rakeem Buckles (right knee), Stephan Van Treese (left knee), Mike Marra (left knee), Wayne Blackshear (right shoulder) and Elisha Justice (broken nose).
Just like in an overtime loss to then-No. 11 Xavier when the Commodores gave away a 10-point lead at home, Vanderbilt squandered a big second-half advantage.
Jenkins' jumper gave the Commodores a 43-34 lead, but Taylor made a steal and missed a layup that would've pushed it to double digits.
Louisville answered with a 13-4 run that ended with Behanan's steal and slam that tied it with 2:28 left. With the game tied again in the closing seconds, Siva wound the clock down near halfcourt, then drove into the lane around Taylor and found Behanan down low.
Behanan took the ball to the floor once to slice across the lane, but missed the shot off the backboard and rim and slumped down in frustration at failing to hit the winner.
Siva made sure the next time he'd take it all the way.
"I love him," Behanan said. "I always count on him to make big plays. Big-time players make big-time plays and that's what he was tonight."
Updated December 3, 2011