Cardinals come up just short, lose 69-61 to Cats

JOHN MARSHALL AP Basketball Writer Published:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino showed why he's a master tactician. It still wasn't enough to beat Kentucky.

Relying on offensive rebounding and Pitino's savvy, Louisville kept it close before fading in a 69-61 loss to in-state rival Kentucky in the Final Four on Saturday night.

Louisville (30-10) got off to a jittery start and had a hard time matching up with Kentucky's stable of future NBA players. The Cardinals kept clawing, though, turning 19 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points to twice rally from double-digit deficits.

Even with one of the game's best in-game coaches pulling the strings, Louisville couldn't keep up with the racing Wildcats the entire 40 minutes, allowing Kentucky (37-2) to shoot 57 percent and reach Monday's championship game against either Kansas or Ohio State.

Peyton Siva had 11 points and Chane Behanan added 10 for Louisville.