ATLANTA, Ga. (WISH) - Louisville beat Michigan Monday night 82-76 to take home the school's first NCAA Championship title since 1986.
"Tonight was as good as it gets," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "They executed almost every play to perfection; they mixed it up well. I can't tell you how proud I am of the guys, of the moment."
Players said this this win was likely a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"You never know if you'll get this opportunity again, so we just left everything out there on the court," Louisville forward Chane Behanan said. "For me, it's just a dream come true."
Junior forward Luke Hancock became the first non-starter to be named most outstanding player.
"I was nervous, how much momentum they had and how well they were playing, and we know how great of a team Michigan is, so it definitely makes you nervous," Hancock said. "But luckily we were able to come back and our pressure ended up wearing them down a little bit I think."
Louisville players agreed that injured sophomore guard Kevin Ware was a big motivator in the win.
"With Kevin Ware going down like that, everybody rallying around him, it really showed how much we love each other and how much of a family we are," senior guard Peyton Siva said.
Immediately after the gruesome leg break in Indianapolis, Ware said he would travel with his teammates to Atlanta.
"I'm not sure I could have or the players gotten over that emotional trauma if he didn't say to me, 'Coach, I'll be fine. We've got to win the game.'" Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said.
With help of crutches, Ware walked onto the court before the game and joined his teammates court side during game.
He was even able to help cut down the net after the win. The rim was lowered so Ware could share in that part of the celebration.
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