Archive for Friday, March 25, 2005

Louisville lethal from long range

March 25, 2005


— Rick Pitino pushed all the right buttons, while Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean made all the tough shots.

The result for Louisville was a 93-79 victory over top-seeded Washington -- a win that put the Cardinals in the Albuquerque Regional final and turned their insulting fourth seed into little more than an afterthought.

"Um, that's not something we think about," forward Larry O'Bannon said. "Coach tells us, 'You've got to go out there and play the game,' so we just go out there and play."

Taking advantage of Pitino's instruction to penetrate, then kick the ball out, Garcia and Dean each hit five three-pointers. The Cardinals (32-4) finished with 11 total, and improved to 24-1 this season when they make at least seven from long range.

"You wonder what it would've been like if they hadn't been making all the threes," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. "But they've won 31 other times this year. I'm sure there are 31 other teams who have said that."

This was billed as a matchup between Washington (29-5), the team trying to prove it really did deserve a top seed, and Louisville, the team that had lost only once since Jan. 8 and couldn't believe it only was a No. 4.

Garcia, who finished with 23 points, made three three-pointers and had an assist as part of a 21-5 run to close the first half and help Louisville to a 47-35 lead.

The Cardinals moved on to Saturday's regional final against West Virginia.

Meanwhile, Washington's top two scorers, Nate Robinson and Tre Simmons, struggled to defend against Pitino's inside-outside offense and wound up languishing on the bench with three fouls for a big chunk of the first half.

Robinson picked up his third at the 8:51 mark and Simmons picked up his third with 3:50 left.

"It was weird," Washington guard Brandon Roy said. "I was playing, kind of going through the motions, I looked at coach and said, 'Why isn't Nate in there?' He said Nate had three fouls. It was kind of disappointing."

Robinson finished with eight points -- 0-for-5 from three-point range -- and Simmons went 3-for-6 for 10 points.

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