2012 NCAA Bracket, New Mexico Vs. Louisville Score: Cardinals Survive Late Rally, Advance To Sweet 16

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 17: Demetrius Walker #40 of the New Mexico Lobos drives the ball in the first half against the New Mexico Lobos during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Rose Garden Arena on March 17, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The Louisville Cardinals held on to take out the New Mexico Lobos, 59-56, on Saturday night. They will face the winner of Sunday's game between Michigan State and St. Louis in the Sweet 16.

The Louisville Cardinals led by as many as 15 points in the second half, racing out to a 44-29 lead on an 18-4 run out of the locker room against the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday night. They held on to advance to the Sweet 16, 59-56, but not before a furious rally by Drew Gordon and New Mexico.

The Cardinals took a slim 26-25 in intermission, but Russ Smith helped give them a seemingly commanding lead. He came off the bench to lead Louisville in scoring with 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting. He went 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and consistently broke down the Lobos inside even if he didn't always quite finish at the rim. Chane Behanan and Kyle Kuric both added 10 points each.

The Lobos didn't back down, however. They held the Cardinals to just eight points over the next 12-plus minutes to pull within two points, 53-51, with 1:30 to go in the game, following a big 3-pointer by Demetrius Walker. They had an opportunity to keep the game at one possession with 25 seconds on the clock, but they turned the ball over in a wild loose ball sequence to essentially seal the game for Louisville.

Louisville did an impressive job on defense in the second. For the game they held the Lobos to 39.7 percent shooting from the field, and 21.7 percent on 23 3-point attempts. Drew Gordon almost singlehandedly kept the Lobos in the game, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds despite leaving the game late in the first half after suffering a nasty knee collision. He apparently wasn't bothered, however, somehow finding the energy to do things like this:

Reverse_medium

He even made his second 3-pointer of the season late in the game. Unfortunately, the superhuman effort was ultimately for naught. Kendall Williams was the only other Lobo to reach double-digit points, finishing with 11 to go along with five assists. He went just 1-for-5 from beyond the arc for the game, however.

The Cardinals advance to the Sweet 16, where they will face the winner of Sunday's game between the 9-seed St. Louis Billikens and the 1-seed Michigan State Spartans.

For up-to-the-minute scores on all NCAA Tournament games, please check out SI.com's complete scoreboard.

For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Saturday StoryStream , and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.