U of L hopes to overcome injuries at home vs.TCU

No. 17 Louisville (11-3) looks to rebound from Wednesday night's loss at Houston this afternoon against TCU at home.

Louisville will not be at full strength again, as they host conference-rival Texas Christian on Saturday.

However, the 17th-ranked Cardinals (11-3, 0-1 Conference USA) hope a return to Freedom Hall can help them rebound from a tough defeat.

Louisville won five straight games before losing its conference opener, 70-67 at Houston on Wednesday. Junior point guard Taquan Dean returned after missing one game due to back spasms, but was scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting from the floor and had four turnovers in 17 minutes.

Dean, averaging 14.5 points per game and leading the Cardinals with 37 3-pointers, did not play in the second half. He will not start Saturday, but may come off the bench.

Senior forward Otis George has a stress fracture in his right foot and will not play. The 6-foot-8 George, sidelined since a 60-58 home loss to No. 8 Kentucky on Dec. 18, is expected to miss at least one more week. He is averaging 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in five games.

``We really need the fans to overcome some of these problems we're having because emotion in every sport is such a big factor,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Friday. ``Our goals this year, it's got to be done at home. We have to pitch a shutout at home because we're a little thin, we're going to have some road problems. Our guys are very fragile right now, the injuries are bothering their heads a little bit.''

The Cardinals struggled against the Cougars on Wednesday. Freshman Juan Palacios scored 20 points and Francisco Garcia added 13 points for Louisville, which committed 24 turnovers and lost to Houston for the first time in nine meetings.

``Blocking out and turnovers were our Achilles' heels,'' Pitino said. ``We're small and fundamentally not a good block-out team.''

Without George and 6-9 freshman forward Brian Johnson -- who underwent season-ending knee surgery on Nov. 19 -- the bulk of the interior work has been handled by Ellis Myles. The 6-7 senior is averaging 10.9 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Texas Christian (10-4, 0-0) concluded its nonconference slate with four straight victories. On Monday, Nile Murray scored TCU's first 11 points as the Horned Frogs raced to a 20-7 lead just over seven minutes into the game en route to a 64-52 win over Texas State.

Murray, a 6-4 junior guard, finished with 16 points and backcourt mate Marcus Shropshire added 13 points and seven assists. TCU's third starting guard, Corey Santee, had nine points and six rebounds as the Horned Frogs won a fourth straight game for the first time since Dec. 2001.

Santee, a 6-2 senior, had 20 points and eight boards last Feb. 17 as TCU stunned then-No. 10 Louisville, 71-46 in Fort Worth. It was TCU's first win in four all-time meetings with Louisville and its first over a top-10 team since it beat Arkansas on Feb. 14, 1990.

The Horned Frogs fell to 1-45 all-time against ranked teams on the road after a 93-74 loss to Kansas on Dec. 9. The lone victory came at then-No. 24 Hawaii on Jan. 19, 1998.


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