St. Louis#039; shocking victory ends Louisville#039;s 17-game winning streak

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

Marque Perry was at a loss for words after Saint Louis' shocking victory over Louisville.

''It's so big, I can't really explain it,'' the guard said. ''Coach told us if we're real close at the end, you never know what can happen.''

Perry took charge down the stretch, scoring five of his 25 points in the final 13 seconds and maneuvering inside for the winning layup with 3.2 seconds to go as Saint Louis beat No. 2 Louisville 59-58 on Wednesday night.

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Louisville had won 17 in a row since a two-point loss to Purdue on Nov. 30 in the second game of the season.

''Coach talks to us all the time about, 'We've got to get one to get us rolling,''' forward Chris Sloan said. ''You can't get a bigger one than this.''

Saint Louis fans mobbed the court after Reece Gaines' desperation 3-point attempt banged off the backboard at the buzzer. It's the biggest victory for the Billikens (9-12, 3-7 Conference USA) since they upset top-ranked Cincinnati in the first round of the 2000 conference tournament.

''I would have been happy to beat Hazelwood Central (High School) tonight, because we really needed a win,'' coach Brad Soderberg said. ''I'll go on record and say we outworked them.''

The Billikens, coming off a pair of road losses to mediocre Conference USA teams, were an unlikely candidate to end the nation's longest winning streak.

''We talked about making the pace of the game uncomfortable for Louisville,'' Soderberg said. ''I don't know if it was uncomfortable for them, but it was comfortable for us.''

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said the Cardinals' 14-for-20 performance at the foul line was the difference.

''They played a terrific game and stopped a streak we had a lot of fun with,'' Pitino said. ''Now it's time to start a new streak.''

Gaines had a season-high 28 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Cardinals (18-2, 8-1).

''Top to bottom, they're a lot more talented team than we are,'' Saint Louis' Chris Sloan said. ''Hustling was going to be the difference to pull out a win.''

No. 4 Florida 74, Mississippi 55

At Gainesville, Fla., Danish star Christian Drejer had his best performance of the season, finishing with 11 points and five assists, as Florida turned a two-point game into a blowout.

Drejer made a 3-pointer and had four assists during a 23-3 second-half run for Florida (20-3, 9-1 Southeastern Conference), which reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight season.

The Rebels (12-9, 3-7) lost their fifth straight.

No. 7 Pittsburgh 82, West Virginia 46

At Pittsburgh, Donatas Zavackas came out of a shooting slump with 15 points and the Panthers played a runaway game after a succession of close ones.

Pittsburgh (17-3, 7-2 Big East) fell from No. 2 to No. 7 in the AP poll while dropping road games against Syracuse and Notre Dame, but they never were challenged by the Mountaineers (12-9, 3-6).

No. 11 Marquette 73, DePaul 60

At Rosemont, Ill., Steve Novak scored a career-high 17 points, including four straight 3-pointers during a decisive second-half stretch for Marquette.

Novak finished with five 3-pointers. Chicago native Dwyane Wade added 17 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals for the Golden Eagles (18-3, 9-1 Conference USA), who won their 10th straight.

No. 12 Creighton 70,

SW Missouri St. 67, OT

At Omaha, Neb., Brody Deren's inside basket gave Creighton the lead, and Michael Lindeman made two free throws with 2.3 seconds left as the Bluejays came back from a 15-point deficit.

Creighton (22-2, 12-1 Missouri Valley Conference) won its 14th straight home game, despite playing the extra period without leading scorer Kyle Korver, who fouled out in the final minute of regulation against the Bears (13-8, 9-3).

No. 13 Oklahoma St. 77, Nebraska 70

At Lincoln, Neb., Victor Williams scored 11 of his 25 points during a key second-half run to lead Oklahoma State.

Nebraska (9-13, 1-8 Big 12) took a 50-47 lead on Brian Conklin's 3-pointer with nine minutes left. But Oklahoma State (19-3, 8-1) went on a 22-8 run, and Williams made consecutive baskets to give the Cowboys the lead for good with 8:09 left.

No. 16 Maryland 74, Florida St. 72

At Tallahassee, Fla., Steve Blake scored Maryland's final seven points, including four free throws in the final 17.5 seconds, as the Terrapins rebounded from two straight losses.