Seven years after George Mason made a Cinderella run to the Final Four, a George Mason transfer prevented Wichita State from pulling one of the biggest upsets in Final Four history. Luke Hancock may have been an unsung member of a deep Louisville team this year, but on this night, Louisville would not have won without him.
Hancock played with a determination and willingness to make a play at a point when Louisville was down by 12 points in the second half. He hit three treys in the game, and a driving layup as part of Louisville’s surge to tie it. Then, he hit the big three pointer that swung the game and put Louisville up by 5 with two minutes remaining, which they would not relinquish. He extended the lead again with a runner in the lane. Then, with less than ten seconds left, made another key play. He missed the free throw that would have put the game away, but when Ron Baker extended toward him to secure the ball, Hancock reached in long enough to force a jump ball (It looked like a questionable call, by the way).
Louisville survived a game where they did not turn Wichita State over for the first 34 minutes (only four turnovers forced) and where they gave up big second chance opportunities. Over the last six minutes, they forced six turnovers, and survive and advance to the Championship Game, 72-68.
Wichita State, meanwhile, almost made history as a 10.5 point underdog and a 9 seed. They would have been the lowest seed to win a game at the Final Four. To put it in perspective, UNLV was favored by 9.5 points over Duke in the 1991 Semifinal and Villanova in 1985 against Georgetown were 9.5 point underdogs. The Shockers played a gritty and hard game and could easily have won this one.
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