MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Rodney Carney got a lot of clear looks at the basket, and liked what he saw.
Carney shucked his protective goggles and scored 19 points, and Memphis stopped No. 6 Louisville down the stretch for a 62-58 upset Wednesday night.
The short-handed Cardinals were held to six points in the final nine minutes and lost their second in a row, both since coach Rick Pitino returned from a two-day medical leave. They had won 16 in a row before falling to Marquette.
“For us to do what we did, it is a great win, and it’s a huge win,” Memphis coach John Calipari said. “They are No. 6 in the country, and we beat them. And we beat them when we were down and down most of the game.”
Louisville (16-3, 6-2 Conference USA) played minus injured starters Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean and reserve Nouha Diakite. Garcia, the team’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, was out with an ankle injury.
“We had no bench, and we were going to basically play six guys, six and a half people,” Pitino said. “We are used to playing 10 people. We are used to trying to wear out opponents. We had to totally change our mindset.”
Memphis (15-4, 6-2), which trailed by nine points in the second half, won its sixth in a row. The Tigers shot only 39 percent, but had four players score in double figures.
Louisville was up 52-47 with nine minutes left before Carney hit a pair of 3-pointers. He scored eight points during a 15-3 run that put the Tigers ahead 62-55 with 30 seconds left.
Carney was held to three points in the Tigers’ last outing, a win at TCU. He has struggled at times since January, and an eye injury had him in a pair of protective goggles for seven games.
The Louisville game was the first time without the goggles.
“It made a big difference because I can see everything,” Carney said. “It’s a whole lot different with the goggles because everything seems closer. Now, it’s regular, and I really can pull out and hit 3s. That helped me a lot.”
Larry O’Bannon led Louisville with 26 points. He had the Cardinals’ only six points—on a 3-pointer and three free throws—in the final nine minutes.
Sean Banks scored 14 for Memphis, while Antonio Burks added 13 points and six assists. Anthony Rice had 10 for the Tigers.
Louisville used a tight zone defense to force the Tigers into outside shots. Of Memphis’ 57 field goal attempts, 27 were outside the 3-point line. They hit 10 of them, contributing to their sub-40 percent shooting performance.
“We kept changing up the zones,” Pitino said. “We did a brilliant job there defensively the whole night. They are a team that takes a lot of 3s, and they hit them—give them credit—at the right time.”
The Cardinals led 37-33 at halftime behind 14 points from O’Bannon, who hit six of his eight shots. Louisville shot 62 percent in the half, making all five of its 3-point tries.
Louisville led through most of the first 14 minutes, eventually taking a 24-17 lead on a steal and basket by Alhaji Mohammed.
But Memphis answered with an 11-0 run, with Rice hitting 3-pointers to open and close the streak.