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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — No. 20 Louisville limited No. 2 Kentucky to one field goal over the final 5:47 in a 65-56 victory Saturday, snapping the Wildcats’ 27-game regular-season winning streak.
Otis George had 13 points and eight rebounds for Louisville (7-1), which won at Rupp Arena for the first time since 1997-98, a season in which Kentucky won the NCAA title. The Cardinals have won seven straight since a season-opening loss to Iowa.
Kentucky (7-1) had not lost a regular-season game since last Dec. 28, when the Wildcats fell 81-63 at Louisville.
Cardinals coach Rick Pitino is 2-1 against Kentucky, a team he coached for eight seasons and guided to the 1996 national title. After the game, Pitino and current Kentucky coach Tubby Smith – one of Pitino’s former assistants – hugged at midcourt.
The Cardinals are 20-1 in December under Pitino the last three seasons, with the only loss coming to Kentucky.
Larry O’Bannon and Luke Whitehead each added 11 points and leading scorer Francisco Garcia had all of his 10 points in the second half for Louisville, which went 15-of-16 from the free throw line.
Louisville, which trailed by five points at halftime, shot 54.2 percent from the field in the second half. Kentucky shot 33.3 percent after halftime and 33.9 percent for the game, after making nine of its first 18 shots.
Kentucky led 49-46 after a basket by Erik Daniels with 5:47 left, and two free throws by Kelenna Azubuike with 4:12 left gave the Wildcats their last lead, 51-50.
Louisville’s Kendall Dartez scored 10 seconds later, and Taquan Dean followed with a 3-pointer before George hit two free throws to give Louisville a 57-51 lead.
A four-point play by Gerald Fitch pulled Kentucky within two, but Garcia made a 3-pointer with Azubuike in his face to put the Cardinals ahead 60-55. Kentucky missed three 3-point attempts in the final minute.
Azubuike and Cliff Hawkins each had 12 points for Kentucky. Fitch, who entered the game averaging 19.1 points, did not score in the first half and finished with nine points.
Kentucky jumped to leads of 12-2 and 24-10, but the Wildcats closed the half by making just two of their last 14 shots.
The Cardinals pulled within 27-26 before two free throws by Brandon Stockton and a basket by Antwain Barbour gave Kentucky a five-point halftime lead.
Both teams entered the game ranked, the first time that happened since Dec. 31, 1996.
Louisville’s win also ended a strange streak – the winner of the annual Kentucky-Louisville football game had lost the basketball game between the schools each year since the football rivalry was resumed in 1994. Louisville won this year’s football game 40-24.