Russ Smith’s Shot Forges Tie Atop AAC Between Louisville, Cincinnati

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like the Louisville Cardinals will get few more days to add length to their newly grown beards as Russ Smith hit a 17-foot jumpshot with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Cardinals a 58-57 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats. The win propelled the Cardinals into a tie atop the AAC with the Bearcats as both teams now sit at 11-2 in the conference.

Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 of the Bearcat’s 57 points, but it took him 26 shots to do it, as the Cardinal proved that the Bearcats weren’t the only ones in the AAC with a stingy defense. Cincinnati struggled all game long with the Cardinal full-court pressure and half-court traps. The Bearcats ended up shooting 28.6 percent from the field with 13 turnovers.

The Cardinal win also set up a fantastic finish that will be played out over the next two weeks in the AAC. Both the Cardinals and the Bearcats have the top 25 ranked Memphis Tigers and Connecticut Huskies remaining on their schedule, with the Cardinals also having to go on the road to play an SMU Mustang team that currently sits in third place in the AAC. The Bearcats seemingly have the easier road to inaugural AAC title, but it’s the Cardinals who are red hot winning six games in a row and 10 of 11.

The first season of AAC basketball has been an outstanding one, and it looks as though we are primed for an even better finish. Now, if we could only get Rick Pitino to make some kind of a deal to grow out his hair to match the beard … and the tattoo.

Jason Love is a writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JloveWshs.

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