ATLANTA — Louisville's Kevin Ware couldn't stay seated for this one.
The guard, who had surgery for a broken right leg a week ago today after being injured in a region final against Duke, began Saturday's national semifinal against Wichita State sitting in a chair by the bench, the leg resting on a stack of towels on another chair.
But with the score tied at 58 with about five minutes left, Ware stood until the Cardinals took a 60-58 lead. Soon after, putting his weight on his good leg, the sophomore stood again, using the elevated court for support. He even joined his teammates during a late timeout of the 72-68 win.
"I wasn't thinking," he said. "I was just trying to get in the huddle to get around the team. I was just telling the guys defense is going to win this game."
Ware wore his No. 5 jersey, red sneakers, and red and black camouflage shorts "just to show them I was there for them."
Before the game, there was a loud cheer when Ware, from nearby Conyers, Ga., followed his teammates onto the floor.
No sale: Adidas has stopped selling T-shirts featuring Ware's jersey number, ESPN reported. The shirts, worn by teammates for warmups, read "Rise to the Occasion" with the number 5 substituted for the "s" in "Rise."
Louisville previously said it waived royalties so it would not be profiting from Ware's injury. Instead, Adidas would contribute to its scholarship fund. But a lawyer for ex-athletes suing the NCAA over rights to use their images objected.
"The fact that there is money going to the scholarship fund doesn't change things," Rob Carey said. "If they didn't ask for Ware's permission, they can't sell the shirt. And if they did ask for his permission and he said 'Yes,' that would be an NCAA violation and he would no longer be eligible."
Louisville F Chane Behanan told USA Today before the game Ware hasn't complained.
Honors: Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater that gave Duke an overtime win over Kentucky in a 1992 region final was named the top moment in tournament history. Indiana's 1976 team, which went unbeaten in winning the title, was voted the best team. In honor of the tournament's 75th anniversary, fans and historians voted on the best of the tournament.
Laettner also was voted among the 15 best players, along with UCLA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Indiana State's Larry Bird, Princeton's Bill Bradley, Georgetown's Patrick Ewing, Duke's Grant Hill, Michigan State's Magic Johnson, North Carolina's Michael Jordan, Ohio State's Jerry Lucas, Kansas' Danny Manning, Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon, Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson, San Francisco's Bill Russell, UCLA's Bill Walton and West Virginia's Jerry West.
Hall of Fame: Louisville coach Rick Pitino and former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian have been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, media reports said. Previous reports also have former Houston coach Guy Lewis and ex-NBA star Gary Payton also elected. The announcement is Monday.