Saturday, March 17, 2012 | 8:57 p.m.
Betting line via Wynn Las Vegas: Louisville –1.5, covers.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Russ Smith had 17 points as Louisville held off New Mexico 59-56 Saturday night for its sixth consecutive win to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2009.
Kyle Kuric added 10 points for the Big East tournament champions, who lost their first game of the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
Trailing 53-46, New Mexico's Drew Gordon hit a pair of free throws, and Demetrius Walker made a 3-pointer to pull to within 53-51 with 1:36 left. Smith made a pair of free throws for fourth-seeded Louisville (28-9), but Gordon answered with a tip-in.
Gorgui Dieng dunked with 32.3 seconds left and Peyton Siva added free throws to make it 59-53. Gordon dropped a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left, but it was too late for the fifth seeded Lobos (28-7), who have never been to the round of 16.