LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- West Virginia traveled here with eight scholarship players and used just seven Wednesday night. With the leading scorer suspended indefinitely, the Mountaineers went 8:18 in the second half without a point and 13:40 without a basket. A 13-0 run turned a big lead into a deficit and sent the KFC Yum! Center crowd of 21,957 into an intimidating tizzy.
Yet when the end arrived, WVU had an 81.6-percent shooter at the foul line with a chance to perhaps clinch the game with 25 seconds remaining.
And Truck Bryant missed both his shots.
No matter. Louisville's last gasp was an acrobatic scoop shot high off the glass taken between two tall defenders.
And Peyton Siva scored with 4.5 seconds left to win the game for the 23rd-ranked Cardinals, 55-54.
"We had our chances at the end. We didn't capitalize and they did," WVU forward Cam Thoroughman said. "I don't know what else to say."
He didn't need to. The Mountaineers went from up 11 in the second half to down by six. They missed 12 consecutive shots and scored just three points between making baskets with 15:10 and 1:30 remaining.
Still, a 3-pointer from Dalton Pepper with 1:30 to go and then a Louisville miss gave Bryant two shots at the foul line. Bryant missed both after missing a pair two minutes earlier.
"Those are free throws - they're free," Bryant said. "I need to make them. I usually make them. I'm an 80-percent shooter. It's rough not to make them in a clutch situation like that."
His misses were compounded by Siva's shot to save the Cardinals.
"That's the kind of shot we want someone to shoot, I think, but it went in," Thoroughman said.
Playing without leading scorer Casey Mitchell and his 16.8 points per game and forward Dan Jennings, who had been starting before deserting his team Sunday, the Mountaineers played remarkably well in the first half and then remarkably poor in the second half.
WVU shot 15-for-33 in the first half to take a 37-26 lead and then 4-for-22 in the second half to be outscored 29-17. The Mountaineers had won 37 in a row when the opponent failed to score 70 points.
"We had shots," Coach Bob Huggins said. "We missed two layups. We missed all kinds of shots around the rim. It's not like we didn't have shots. But we didn't make shots and their zone got tighter.
"We spread it out in the first half and they thought we might make a shot. I thought we might to. They tricked me."
WVU's offensive woes and Louisville's eventual defensive prowess were best illustrated by Joe Mazzulla. He was 8-for-10 in the first half - including two 3s after making one this season and one in each of the previous two seasons - to get to a career-high 18 points.
"What was happening was we were giving him his left hand and we were going for the ball fake," Louisville Coach Rick Pitino said of the left-handed Mazzulla. "We were really concentrating on stopping other people, not that we don't have respect for Mazzulla. We knew where he was in the second half."
He was 0-for-2 and scoreless after halftime.
"I wasn't going to go out there and shoot it just to shoot it," Mazzulla said. "They did a better job in the second half closing the lanes and getting in passing lanes and getting out on our shooters."