By ANNIE MOORE
For the Louisville Cardinals, a 45-33 win over Cleveland State doesnâ€™t seem all that remarkable, but the win was indeed special because it was Rick Pitinoâ€™s 700th victory in college basketball. This milestone is just the most recent in a long line of accolades for the legendary coach, and it puts him in an elite class.
Pitinoâ€™s 700th win didnâ€™t come as easily as he wouldâ€™ve liked, with the Cardinals struggling against the Vikings of Cleveland State. But the game did showcase the powerhouse defense that has come to be the trademark of Pitinoâ€™s career. University of Louisville vice president and director of athletics Tom Jurich presented Pitino with a commemorative plaque and basketball after the game.
During his time at Hawaii, Boston, Providence, Kentucky and Louisville Pitino has amassed a record of 700-245.Â Heâ€™s just the 20th coach to reach the 700 mark in Division I basketball, and joins Dukeâ€™s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolinaâ€™s Roy Williams and Syracuseâ€™s Jim Boeheim as the fourth ACC coach to reach the 700 mark. The ACC is the first Division I conference to have four active coaches with 700 or more wins. During his time as a coach, Pitino has led two teams to a national championship. He is also the only recognized coach to lead three different schools to Final Four appearances: Providence, Kentucky and Louisville.
“I hope I’m as lucky to (win) 800, because I remember it as if it was yesterday,” Pitino said. “I don’t think there’s as much significance, personally, for me, but the significance I do take away is that senior class last year, how many games they won. I was the beneficiary today.”
The 62-year-old was a little delayed reaching the 700 mark, due to his brief time in the NBA, where he racked up 192 wins with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. All told, Pitino is eight wins away from 900 total wins in his coaching career.
Coach Pitino will look to add to his win total this season, as one of his teams is once again ranked in the top ten nationally.
Not-always-smooth soccer season sees Cards go far in National tourney
The University of Louisville menâ€™s soccer team saw its season come to an end when it fell to the University of Maryland – Baltimore County. The two teams faced off in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and the Retrievers advanced after a 1-0 victory.
The teams swapped chances fairly evenly until the 20th minute. UMBC took the 1-0 lead when Mamadou Kansaye put the ball in the back of the net for the Retrievers off of a penalty kick.
The remainder of the match, the Cardinals were knocking on the door, but couldnâ€™t finish. They had 13 shots, four on goal, but none connected. The offense was especially intense in the final 45 minutes, the Cards had nine of its 13 shots in the second half, and UMBC goalie Billy Heavner had three saves in the half, four on the night.
Louisville head coach Ken Lolla said post-game, â€œ45 minutes of effort wasnâ€™t quite good enough tonight. I was proud of how we responded in the second half. I thought the guys did tremendously well to create some really good chances.â€
The crowd was on its feet by the 70th minute of the match, and at the 72nd minute Will Vitalis had a shot miss just wide, followed by another near miss from Ricardo Velazco. Despite the Cardinals immense offensive effort in the second half, it would fall short when the final buzzer sounded.
UMBC improved to 14-5-4 with the win, and advanced to play Creighton in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, the schoolâ€™s first appearance in a quarterfinal game in any sport.
For the 11-8-3 Cardinals, the game was the end of the road and for the five seniors, itâ€™s the end of their time at Louisville. But the rest of the team now looks ahead to the 2015 season, its second in Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium, and a chance to build on this seasonâ€™s successes.