MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- On the verge of continuing its recent success against Louisville, Marquette picked the wrong time for a scoring drought.
Francisco Garcia made a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining to snap a tie and lift No. 12 Louisville to a 64-61 triumph over Conference USA foe Marquette, which was held scoreless for the final 5 1/2 minutes.
Winners of six of the previous eight meetings between the schools, Marquette (17-8, 5-7 C-USA) held a seemingly comfortable 61-50 lead after Steve Novak hit a 3-pointer with 5:40 to go. But the Golden Eagles did not make another basket, missing their final six shots - including a pair from the arc in the waning moments.
Louisville (22-4, 10-2) rallied behind Larry O'Bannon and Otis George, who combined to convert four free throws with 1:37 left, tying the game at 61-61.
Fouled by Joe Chapman, O'Bannon stepped to the line and made his first free throw. At that time, George was fouled by Ryan Amoroso and sank both shots after O'Bannon converted his second to draw the Cardinals even.
"The momentum swing at the end was the free throws," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "The momentum turned at the free throw situation, and we were not able to get it back. They were the recipients of that, they were the recipients of the momentum turn."
After Travis Diener - who was sidelined for a 99-52 loss to Louisville last month with a sprained left ankle - passed up a shot in the lane, Chapman attempted a 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining that was off the mark.
Ellis Myles grabbed the rebound and dished to Garcia, who buried a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to cap a 16-point second half and give the Cardinals the lead. Garcia scored just two points in the first 20 minutes.
"Our team realized that the game down at Louisville (in January) was a complete aberration of what kind of team we have," Crean said. "We learned we can play with them, without a doubt, and that we can go toe-to-toe with them. At the end, they got some easier baskets and we missed some shots we normally make. Credit them for making a tough shot at the end."
Diener - who shot 2-of-16 - had a chance to tie it, but his runner from the arc fell short, giving Louisville its 11th win in 12 games.
"It was a wide-open shot," Diener said. "I just missed it, missed it bad, and it was the story of the night. Give them credit, they played good defense. I missed layups, and the supposed best player on the floor, I should make layups."
The Golden Eagles started strong, scoring 13 of the game's first 15 points. But after falling behind, 16-6, the Cardinals went on a 13-0 run to take a 19-16 lead with 8:53 to go.
Marquette answered with a 14-4 burst to grab a 30-23 advantage with 4:07 remaining. But the Golden Eagles scored just two points down the stretch and entered the break with only a 32-29 cushion.
Garcia scored seven points in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half as the Cardinals moved ahead, 43-39. But Marquette scored the next nine points to grab the lead, one it built to 11 before Louisville began its comeback.
O'Bannon had 15 points and seven rebounds, George added 10 and Myles pulled down 12 boards for the Cardinals.
Novak scored 14 points, Todd Townsend chipped in 12 and Chapman 11 for Marquette. Diener, who needed 21 points to climb into fourth place on the school's all-time list, scored nine and handed out 11 assists.