Louisville, down 14 points with less than 1 1/2 minutes left, capitalized on the upshot of a multiplayer fight in the closing minutes of regulation to catch up to South Carolina and beat the Gamecocks in double overtime, 98-88, yesterday in Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina led the Metro Conference matchup, 72-58, with 1:22 left. LeBradford Smith made a three-point goal with 1:06 left to cut the lead to 11 and then the fight erupted.

South Carolina's Darryl Martin and Pervis Ellison of Louisville became tangled going for a rebound. They were separated, but Martin then hit Smith in the eye and players from both benches rushed onto the floor.

During the fight, a fan hit the Cardinals' Herbert Crook and several other players took swings at each other. When order was restored about 10 minutes later, South Carolina was called for three technical fouls, which meant ejection for Coach George Felton. Louisville was assessed two technicals.

Martin and Terry Gould of South Carolina were thrown out, as were Smith and Crook of Louisville.

The Cardinals hit six of eight free throws as a result of the technicals and a personal foul committed just before the fight. Dozier -- who had a career-high 34 points in the game -- made just one of four, and the Gamecocks' lead fell to 73-67.

Eventually, Craig Hawley hit a 33-foot three-pointer at the buzzer for a 74-74 tie. In the second overtime, begun at 83-all, 7-foot sophomore Felton Spencer scored the basket that put Louisville (16-9, tied for first in the Metro at 6-3) ahead of the Gamecocks (15-10, 5-4) for good. Ellison led Louisville with 28 points.

"The fight was the officials' fault," winning coach Denny Crum said. "They permitted too much physical contact. If they had called the game a little tighter, they wouldn't have let it get out of hand."

South Carolina's Felton agreed, saying, "It's a sad situation . . . an injustice to our kids . . . I'm proud of our team. They should hold their heads high, because we have a class program."

As the Cardinals left the floor at game's end, some fans threw cups filled with ice at the team.