LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Being a 16-point underdog proved to be no problem for the Drexel Dragons and their defense Tuesday night.
Drexel (7-1) got 20 points from Gerald Colds and 10 rebounds each from Daryl McCoy and Samme Givens to upset 20th-ranked Louisville, 52-46, at the new KFC Yum Center.
Louisville suffered its first loss of the season after eight wins, its best start in 15 years, but Drexel annihilated the Cardinals on the boards, outrebounding them by 46-26.
"We thought we had a chance," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "We thought that we matched up really well with them and we had to do the things we usually do, like rebounding well to win the game. It's big for our program to go on the road and beat a team that is this good. You've got to come into these games and feel like you can win."
After a seesaw battle for 30 minutes, Drexel grabbed the lead for good with eight minutes left, thanks entirely to its defense. Time and again in the final minutes, McCoy and Givens came away with defensive rebounds, denying the Cardinals a second shot. Louisville scored only four points in the final eight minutes against Drexel's relentless middle men.
Meanwhile, Colds, who entered the game shooting under 50 percent from the foul line, hit 6 of 7 free throws to seal the game in the final three minutes. The Dragons shot only 48 percent from the line, hitting 12 of 25 shots, and 38.6 percent from the field (17 for 44), but they held Louisville's shooters to 31.9 percent from the field (15 for 47).
"It's a big win for us because they are a nationally ranked team and this is their first loss in the new arena," Colds said. "It's big for our conference, too. We came in here with one loss [to Rhode Island], a loss we didn't feel like we should have, so we came in here and decided we were going to win this one and got it."
Preston Knowles and Peyton Siva led Louisville with 13 points each.
Although the teams combined for 21 turnovers in the first half, Drexel built a 16-9 lead midway through on a 7-0 run that Colds fueled with a pair of threes. The Dragons set the tone in the first half, outrebounding the Cards by 20-9.
Louisville's defense forced four straight turnovers - the Cardinals scored 12 points off them in the first half - and reclaimed the lead with an 8-0 run. Rick Pitino's team moved ahead, 21-17, with three minutes left in the half.
But Drexel continued to hold the Cards down and regained the lead at 22-21 with 1 minute, 59 seconds left. The Dragons led, 25-23, at the break after Chris Fouch (10 points) buried a three with two seconds left.