The cheering almost stopped Sunday at Louisville. Because of a cheerleader.
The No. 16 Cardinals outlasted No. 4 Pitt in overtime, 62-59, and punctuated the win with a last-second dunk by Kyle Kuric. The horn sounded, the crowd at the KFC Yum! Center went nuts, the players started celebrating and a few cheerleaders on the sideline also got in the fun. One, junior Jordan Alcazar, jumped up and down, ended up on the court and by the ball, so he grabbed it and threw it into the air.
One problem. There was still time on the clock. Watch.
(To those who want to watch it again and again, click here.)
So the Cards got a technical foul and the Panthers got a chance to win the game. Ashton Gibbs knocked down two free throws and the Panthers got the ball back underneath their own basket with a chance at a desperation heave to tie.
When it missed, the cheerleader avoided becoming Steve Bartman and Louisville coach Rick Pitino could laugh about it.
“I’m sure it was unintentional, but you can actually lose a game that way,” he said afterward. “The male cheerleader [era] is coming to an end. It was good while it lasted. It was fun. Now we’ll try another sport for him.”
You can only imagine the outcry if Louisville had ended up losing. Fans would’ve made that cheerleader’s life miserable, the media would’ve roasted him and he probably would’ve had to move. (To Pittsburgh.)
So I consider this the best of all possible outcomes. We get to watch amusing video, Louisville got the win and we’re all happy (especially the guys over at CardChronicle, who write about the Cards’ Sunday performance, their surprising season and more).
Well, everyone except Pitt.
UPDATE: Alcazar wasn’t available for comment, so the spirit coordinator issued this comment:
“He thought the game was over because clearly the kids know not to touch the ball,” Todd Sharp told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “We were just like every Cardinal fan in the house, so elated that we were winning that game that he just lost his mind for a minute.”
Sharp also said Pitino called Alcazar. “He has a great story to tell his kids someday,” Sharp said of Pitino’s call. “[Pitino] was very gracious about it.”
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