LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Losing three straight games the hard way made it somewhat fitting that No. 12 Louisville took the same route to beat Pittsburgh on Monday night.
Guard Russ Smith and center Gorgui Dieng didn't care how it looked, as both focused solely on the outcome.
Smith and Dieng combined for 34 points and sealed the win with four free throws in the final 12 seconds as Louisville (17-4, 5-3 Big East) ended its skid with a 64-61 victory over the stubborn Panthers, who erased an 11-point second-half deficit to trail 60-58 with 13 seconds left.
"This is a good win for us because Pitt is a good team," said Dieng, who finished with 14 points, 12 points, five blocks and four assists. His two free throws with 12.7 seconds left gave Louisville a 62-58 lead.
"I think this win will help us a lot, move our confidence up a little bit, too. We take each game as very important. We are playing for a seed so we just bring it every night."
Dieng finished with his fifth double double this season.
Smith set the pace with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, adding five rebounds. But the junior's biggest points were his two free throws with 4.2 seconds left for a 64-58 lead.
Those shots loomed large as Panthers guard Tray Woodall hit two 3-pointers in the final 13 seconds, one with a second left.
"We were able to grind it out, play hard and come out with a victory," Smith said. "The last few games we had to dig in and we did that tonight. We just came out with a victory."
NO. 3 KANSAS 61, W. VA. 56: Travis Releford and Jeff Withey scored 15 each for the visiting Jayhawks (19-1, 7-0 Big 12), who nearly relinquished a double-digit lead before holding on for their 18th straight win.
B-CU 58, MD.-EASTERN SHORE 57: Ricky Johnson had 11 points, including a go-ahead free throw with 2 seconds left to lift host Bethune-Cookman (8-14, 3-4 MEAC).
DELAWARE ST. 57, FAMU 48: Tahj Tate had 16 points for the visiting Hornets, who forced 17 turnovers by the Rattlers (6-15, 3-4 MEAC).
NO. 6 SYRACUSE: Starting freshman forward Dajuan Coleman will have a surgical procedure on his left knee today and is expected to miss four weeks.
SERIES TO RESUME: North Carolina said it will resume its series with Kentucky next season in Chapel Hill. The teams played for 12 straight seasons but did not meet this year.
NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 77, NO. 9 TENN. 67: Skylar Diggins scored a career-high 33 for the visiting Fighting Irish (19-1), who built a 19-point second-half lead before withstanding a late rally by the Vols (16-4), who hung a banner in honor of former coach Pat Summitt before the game.
AP POLL: Baylor remained No. 1 for a fourth straight week. Iowa entered at No. 24, its first appearance since 2011, and Delaware returned at No. 25. Michigan and Michigan State dropped out.