Flashback Friday: Freedom Hall Finale was 5 Years Ago

AP Photo/Ed Reinke
AP Photo/Ed Reinke

Crazy to think it has already been 5 years since the final Louisville game at Freedom Hall. I don’t care how nice the KFC Yum! Center is, I always miss going to games at Freedom Hall. There will never be anything like it. I was in the big minority of people that didn’t even want a new arena. Obviously, the Yum is a much nicer facility, but Freedom Hall will always be special to me. And I think it’s obvious where the better atmosphere was!

The day set up perfectly. Louisville was a bubble team and needed a big win to get into the NCAA Tournament. How about the #1 team in the country coming to town? Would that be a good enough win? It absolutely would. Bring on the Syracuse Orange, who the Cards have made a great little history with over the last few years.

I remember getting to Freedom Hall soon after the doors opened, which was an hour and a half to two hours before tip, and the place was PACKED. People all just taking pictures and soaking up the moment. It was unlike any pregame atmosphere I had ever been apart of. And obviously, the game was electric from the start.

Jerry Smith hurt his hand on a dunk and had to come out of the game. So then we turned to little-used Kyle Kuric. Nobody had a clue what was coming next, but Kuric would create his legacy in UofL basketball history in just one Saturday afternoon. It didn’t matter what happened with him after that at UofL. This was the day that people would remember most.

From ESPN.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A reserve guard that Louisville coach Rick Pitino considers so bashful, he sounds shy even when he yells, made sure to send venerable Freedom Hall out with one more memorable game.

Kyle Kuric scored all of his career-high 22 points in the second half, and the Cardinals stunned No. 1 Syracuse 78-68 on Saturday before a record crowd of 20,135 at the 54-year-old venue.It was the final game there before Louisville moves into a new downtown arena.

“It’s an unbelievable moment,” Kuric said. “It’s what every kid dreams of.”Kuric may have also assured Louisville (20-11, 11-7 Big East) a return trip to the NCAA tournament by sweeping the regular-season series from the Orange (28-3, 15-3), whose only other loss came against Pittsburgh (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP).

Here are some videos from that day. You have an amazing highlight video, the full game, and a few fan videos from Kuric dunking.

3 Replies to “Flashback Friday: Freedom Hall Finale was 5 Years Ago”

  1. I’ll always remember that day. I was fortunate enough to be in the building for that game. I’ll never forget the atmosphere and especially Kuric going off on Syracuse. And I agree, the Yum Center is great, but it’ll never be Freedom Hall. I always miss that place. Every time I step foot in the Yum I always say to myself “Man, I miss Freedom Hall.” There will never be anything quite like it. The vintage structure, the atmosphere, not a bad seat in the house, the PARKING……. it was all good.

    I’ll always remember the commentator in the finale; “Alley-oop Kuric YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!!!!!”

  2. I agree completely. Having been a fan for 40 yrs, there was a certain “something” that the Hall had. I wasn’t able to be at that game having lived out of state, but I was able to take my son to a game late in the season. He said “dad we’ve been to several what makes this one special”? So I had the 4 hour trip to explain Freedom Hall and what it means to us as a fan base. I was there for coach Crum’s last game, absolutely electric, same atmosphere for Pitino first game. I will never forget the raw emotion of watching the Cards put the beat down on Memphis st and a young coach cal. The Yum is great, but the Hall was the best.

  3. Agreed, Freedom Hall was one of those places you could just feel the excitement in the air. The excitement on that last game day and Kyle Kuric unexpectedly going BeastMode makes that day one that I’ll never forget. It’s hard to believe its already been five years.

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