ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Despite torrid 3-point shooting by West Virginia, Larry O'Bannon and Taquan Dean wouldn't let Louisville lose.
O'Bannon scored all 24 of his points after intermission and Dean, playing through leg cramps, knocked down five 3-pointers in the second half and scored 23 as fourth seed Louisville came back from a 20-point first-half deficit to beat seventh seed West Virginia, 93-85, in overtime to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1986.
"I cited about three or four different (comeback) situations (I've faced)," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. I said we're definitely going to win. I see it, I know it. That was the only mistruth I spoke in the whole motivational speech. I have seen so many comebacks since I have been a coach. The only thing I didn't want to do was play the way we had to play. I didn't think we had it in us from a health standpoint but we had no choice but to do it."
The Cardinals will play Illinois next Saturday in a national semifinal game in St. Louis. With the win, Pitino becomes the first coach in college basketball history to lead three schools to the Final Four.
Pitino guided Providence in 1987 and Kentucky three times in the 1990's.
West Virginia made 18 3-pointers, most in school history and second most in an NCAA Tournament game, but Louisville countered with 11 from the arc and shot 68 percent (19-of-28) overall after intermission to pull off the comeback. The Cardinals held a 15-4 advantage on the offensive glass.
"It's tough," West Virginia center Kevin Pittsnogle said. "We played a real good game. We hit almost all of the shots we took. At the end, it didn't fall our way."
The combined 29 3-pointers set a new NCAA Tournament record.
O'Bannon scored eight of Louisville's last 16 points to overcome a 71-61 deficit and force overtime. He hit two free throws 23 seconds into the extra session to give Louisville a 79-77 lead, its first since 3-0.
"I wanted to stay within the team concept, but I wanted to be more aggressive," O'Bannon said. "Just being the senior that I am, I felt I had to step up and be more assertive. "I've been struggling with my outside shot, so I wanted to get to the basket and create for my teammates."
After the Mountaineers pulled even at 82-82 on a layup by Mike Gansey, Dean drove and passed off to Otis George for a layup, O'Bannon hit two free throws and Juan Palacios hit a layup for an 88-83 advantage with 1:36 left.
Louisville (33-4), which has won 13 straight and tied the school record for wins in a season, closed out West Virginia from the foul line, scoring its final five points at the stripe.
The Cardinals pulled off the comeback with leading scorer Francisco Garcia on the bench after fouling out with four minutes left in regulation.
O'Bannon finished 6-of-10 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the line and Dean was 7-of-17 from the arc. Garcia finished with 13 points and eight assists and Palacios chipped in 13.
Trailing, 40-27, at the half, Dean brought Louisville back with three 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 54-48 with 12 1/2 minutes left.
"They got extremely talented players that you can be all over them and they are still going to make NBA-type of shots," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "As a result, they crept back and they crept back. There was no doubt in my mind that was going to happen."
West Virginia made seven straight 3-pointers in the first half to open a 38-18 lead and force Louisville out of its zone into fullcourt pressure. The Mountaineers made six straight from the arc to try and fend off a furious Louisville rally in the second half.
"I never in my 31 years of coaching, I never had abandoned (the game plan) at halftime, but I felt it had to be abandoned," Pitino said. "Not so much because of the shots, I felt it had to because their confidence was down. Now at this altitude, to press like that, to get after the ball like that. That's very, very difficult."
"We just sort of said we're not going to panic," O'Bannon said. "We had been in big situations before where were down 18, down 10 with five minutes to go. We had come back and won all of those games."
After Pittsnogle hit his fourth 3-pointer after intermission to give West Virginia a 77-73 lead with 1:43 to go, Louisville responded with a layup by Palacios with 87 seconds left. Joe Herber missed a jumper for the Mountaineers and O'Bannon scored on a drive down the left side to tie the game with 38 seconds left.
West Virginia held for the last shot, but J.D. Collins' pull-up jumper from 10 feet was blocked by Brandon Jenkins.
"We tried to dribble-drive on the last shot," Beilein said. "I thought we had an alley, a good shot, he just got it blocked."
Palacios caught the ball, passed to Dean, but his pull-up jumper from the left corner in the last second was short.
"I thought I could make it but my legs cramped up," Dean said. "I wanted to make it, but my legs wouldn't let me."
Pittsnogle finished with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-9 from the arc, for West Virginia (24-11), which shot 55 percent (26-of-47) but was outrebounded, 34-19. Herber had three shots from the arc and 13 points and Gansey, Collins and Patrick Beilein chipped in 11.