Louisville vs. Wichita State score: Shockers up 1 at the half, 26-25

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Russ Smith has 11 points, but the Cardinals dug themselves an early hole.

The Wichita State Shockers weren't perfect against the Louisville Cardinals in the first half Saturday, but they held a 26-25 lead at the halftime of their first Final Four game since 1965.

Wichita State scored the first eight points, and its offense avoided the Cardinals' vaunted full-court press that couldn't establish itself without any out-of-bounds plays off Louisville scores. Russ Smith, who shoots 82 percent from the free-throw line, was 0-for-4 on free-throw attempts in the first three minutes.

The start was impressive enough for former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson to offer his opinion on Twitter:

But once the Cardinals got that elusive first basket—a Smith steal and lay-up—the press got going, and Wichita State fell prey. It took Louisville just over two minutes to score nine unanswered points and take a 9-8 lead with 12:45 to go on a pair of Peyton Siva free throws.

But the Shockers re-established themselves, proving they had the athleticism and skill to hang around once Louisville finally hit its stride (at least on defense). Dunks like this from Cleanthony Early helped:

Shockdunk_medium

Both teams struggled from the field, though Louisville improved to finish at 40 percent at halftime. Wichita State was 32.1 percent from the floor.

Louisville had the last shot of the half, but Siva's three-pointer rimmed out.

More in College Basketball:

10 things you should know about the Final Four

Rick Pitino's elusive title

The 5 things that will decide Louisville-Wichita State

Jabari Parker and Chicago's new basketball lineage

Living and playing basketball with cancer

Andrew Wiggins is the anti-LeBron

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