Ware simply closed out and contested a three point attempt from Duke’s Tyler Thornton, a routine play by basketball standards. However, Ware came down so awkwardly that his leg virtually snapped on impact when he landed right in front of the Louisville bench. The reaction after Ware came down was something that you never, ever hope to see. The Cardinals bench is seen grimacing and its even been reported that a few players were vomiting. Some Cardinals that were in the game fell to their knees upon seeing the injury to Ware, while a number of players and even head coach Rick Pitino were seen wiping tears away.
Ware was taken off an a stretcher, his leg clearly broken. Despite the gut-wrenching scene, the game went on. Pitino said after the game that even despite the injury Ware was yelling, “Win the Game, Win the Game!”
The Cardinals held a 35-32 lead at the break, but the final 20 minutes belonged to Louisville. Undoubtedly inspired and ready to play for their injured teammate, the Cardinals rolled after the break. Russ Smith, who is among the leading scorer’s in this year’s NCAA Tournament led the way with 23 points, while Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng added 16 and 14, respectively.
Ware is obviously done for the remainder of the season and his recovery will surely present a long rode back to the hardwood. His Cardinals however, are headed to their second consecutive Final Four.
Louisville will square off with No. 9 Wichita State on Saturday evening, looking to avenge last year’s Final Four loss and advance forward to the National Championship. Louisville is the only No. 1 seed to qualify for this year’s Final Four in Atlanta.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin Ware on a speedy recovery.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS