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Posted at 12:23 AM ET, 03/18/2012

NCAA tournament: Russ Smith’s 17 points help Louisville beat New Mexico to move on

The shot clock was winding down and fourth-seeded Louisville was protecting a two-point lead in the final minute as Peyton Siva dribbled toward the basket, weaving around four defenders. He got into the paint and passed to wide-open teammate Gorgui Dieng for a rim-rattling dunk that secured the Cardinals place in the Sweet 16.

Russ Smith scored 17 points while Kyle Kuric and Chane Behanan added 10 apiece as Louisville beat fifth-seeded New Mexico, 59-56, in a West Region round-of-32 game Saturday night in Portland, Ore.

Louisville (28-9) advanced to play either top-seeded Michigan State or ninth-seeded Saint Louis on Thursday in Phoenix.

The Cardinals led by 15 points in the second half, but Drew Gordon shook off a first-half knee injury to lead New Mexico’s rally.

Gordon made two free throws with 1 minute 52 seconds left to get the Lobos within 53-48, then New Mexico forced a five-second call on the inbounds play to regain possession. Demetrius Walker then made a three-pointer from the right corner to make it 53-51 with 1:41 left and the Lobos had a chance.

Smith made two free throws, but Gordon’s third-chance tip-in brought New Mexico back within 55-53 with 1:17 left.

On the following possession, though, Siva and Dieng executed a pick-and-roll play to perfection, leading to Dieng’s dunk and a 57-53 lead with 34 seconds left.

Gordon led the Lobos with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Box score: Louisville 59, New Mexico 56

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By  |  12:23 AM ET, 03/18/2012

 
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