(CNN) — The Louisville Cardinals defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 82-76, to win the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship Monday night in Atlanta.
The showdown was one for the ages, with a dazzling array of airborne theatrics, jaw-dropping dunks and 3-pointers from well behind the line.
Louisville surged from a double-digit deficit in the first half to lead during much of the second half and finally clinch the victory.
Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino said his team was able to beat the “absolutely incredible” Wolverines “probably because I have the 13 toughest guys I’ve ever coached.”
The Cardinals played without Kevin Ware, the sophomore guard who suffered one of the most grotesque injuries in college sports while playing Duke on March 31.
During a routine block attempt, Ware landed awkwardly and snapped his right shin, drawing gasps of horror as the bone protruded through the skin.
Ware joined his teammates during the championship trophy presentation on crutches.
“These are my brothers. I’m so proud of them.”
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