Harrell has 'big time' effort for Cards

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - University of Louisville junior Montrezl Harrell played one of his best games of the season on the biggest stage to date, finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a win over North Carolina State on Friday night in the Carrier Dome. Harrell's efforts helped the Cardinals into the NCAA Elite Eight.

Montrezl Harrell hadn't been his best in the first two games of the NCAA Tournament.

The University of Louisville All-American had 22 points and 10 rebounds combined in wins over UC-Irvine and Northern Iowa. But U of L coach Rick Pitino never frets over the performance of the school's all-time dunk leader.

"He never lets me down," Pitino said.

And once again, Harrell delivered on Friday night. He was 9 of 12 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line and finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes of play during a 75-65 win over N.C. State in the NCAA Sweet 16.

"I can't say enough about him," Pitino said. "He's the toughest guy I've ever coached and he just gets it done. He's tremendous."

Harrell, who is expected to enter his name into the NBA Draft after the season is complete, said he's not ready for his college career to be over.

He was part of the national championship team when he was a freshman and last season helped the Cardinals into the Sweet 16.

"We've come a long way," Harrell said. "Everybody is one the same page right now and we all have the same goal, we don't want it to end.

"I want to do whatever I can to help us hang another national championship banner at our school. I don't care what it takes."

Harrell has been solid the entire season but was just 6 of 12 in the ACC Tournament loss to North Carolina and then was 3 of 8 against UC-Irvine. But against Northern Iowa, while he only scored 14, Harrell was passing the ball out of double teams.

He wasn't forcing anything and his leadership has "really stepped up," according to sophomore guard Terry Rozier.

"We know what we're going to get from him, he's going to give us a big-time effort," Rozier said. "But he's also been the leader. (Harrell) and Wayne have really been leaders."

Harrell now has 1,278 career points and needs just three more to pass Chuck Noble for 33rd on the school's all-time list. He has 78 dunks on this season and 219 - a school record - for his career along with 768 rebounds.

Pitino said his career has been "unbelievable," but Harrell said it's not finished.

"Everything has jelled at the right time," Harrell said. "Everybody has bought into the mentality that coach wanted and everybody wants the same goal."

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