CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- After Field Williams gave Cincinnati life, Eric Hicks helped the Bearcats take advantage.
Williams drained a tying jumper to close regulation and Hicks scored five points in overtime as No. 14 Cincinnati held on for a 66-61 victory over No. 11 Louisville in a matchup of struggling Conference USA teams.
Louisville (17-6, 7-5) seized a 54-52 lead on Nate Daniels' 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in regulation. The Cardinals trailed by as many as eight points in the second half.
The Bearcats answered when Williams took a feed on the right side and got free of Alhaji Mohammed for a long jumper as time expired. Williams' right foot was on the 3-point arc.
Hicks scored half of his 10 points in the extra session, including a free throw that gave Cincinnati (18-5, 9-3) the lead for good at 61-60 with 2:10 to play. Reserve Tony Bobbitt's 3-pointer on the next possession made it a four-point game, helping boost the Bearcats to only their third win over the last seven games.
"I think we are getting better," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "That was the best halfcourt defense we've played against a good team all year."
It also avenged a 93-66 loss at Louisville on January 21 that matched the worst in Huggins' tenure with the Bearcats.
"We just wanted to come out and get back on the right track," Hicks said. "We were 13-0 and went down there and lost. It's only right that we get back on the right track when they come up here."
Louisville has dropped three straight and five of six to fall into sixth place in Conference USA. The Cardinals have combined for 33 first-half points in their last two defeats.
Hicks blocked six shots and grabbed 14 rebounds off the bench, helping Cincinnati to a 46-39 edge on the glass. Rebounds were plentiful on an afternoon in which the teams combined to shoot 35 percent.
"When Eric comes with energy, Eric is a good player," Huggins said.
Williams scored 18 points and Bobbitt, coming off a scoreless effort in Wednesday's loss to Alabama-Birmingham, chipped in 11. Jason Maxiell struggled against constant double- and triple-teaming and netted 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
The Bearcats limited the Cardinals to 20 percent (6-of-30) shooting in the first half to build a 20-15 lead. But Cincinnati's offense also sputtered and neither team demonstrated anything similar to the top-10 form each displayed earlier in the season.
"I don't think we are struggling," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. "At Louisville, we will always have a tough February because we play so many games on the road."
The lone sign of offense for Louisville came due to a magnificent performance from Francisco Garcia, who scored 20 of his career-high 27 points after halftime. Garcia also handed out seven assists and made four of his last five 3-pointers.
Garcia received little help as the rest of his teammates combined for five assists. The backcourt of Taquan Dean and Larry O'Bannon combined to make 5-of-20 shots for 17 points.