C-USA: Cards advance with 85-61 win over TCU

Despite a slow start offensively in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Kelly Tires C-USA Tournament in Memphis, TN, No.1-seeded Louisville (27-4) returned to form soon enough to cruise to an 85-61 win over No.8-seeded TCU.

For nearly 15 minutes Louisville's Conference USA opener was a poor shooting and low scoring outing as the the Cardinals held a narrow 19-15 advantage over the No.8-seeded TCU Horned Frogs.

During the opening stretch, the Cardinals struggled from beyond the three-point line, missing all 10 attempts. It wasn't until the 3:24 mark of the first half when Francisco Garcia connected for the team's first trifecta of the game.

Garcia's basket gave 6th-ranked Louisville it's first double-digit lead at 26-15 and the Cardinals coasted for the remainder of the contest.

Louisville used a first half ending 17-4 run to build a 36-19 lead over TCU.

The Cardinals opened the second half with the same intensity and opened a 32-point lead at 63-31 with 13 minutes remaining in the game.

Juan Palacios had 9 points and 12 rebounds
in the Cards 85-61 win over TCU (AP)

"I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys," Ellis Myles, who has yet to play in an NCAA tournament game, helped fuel the offensive outburst as he recorded a triple-double, just the second such feat in the program's history.

The fifth-year senior finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

"I don't look at myself as a center," said Myles, who became the first to record a triple-double in Conference USA Tournament history. "I see myself as a big body guy down low that can pass the ball."

U of L head coach Rick Pitino said that Myles ability to find his open teammates was a key to the Cardinals win. "TCU was trapping us a lot and Ellis Myles did a great job finding the open guy."

All five starters scored double figures in the Cardinals opening round win, led by Larry O'Bannon's 18 points.

"I told Larry during practice that he was no longer a quiet guy - everyone knows him now," said Pitino.

Junior Taquan Dean became the third member of the current team to join the school's exlusive 1,000-point club, joining teammates Francisco Garcia and Larry O'Bannon.

The Cardinals improved to 27-4 on the season and will face the winner of the UAB - DePaul contest on Friday afternoon.

Tomorrow's semifinal game times will be announced by ESPN later today. ESPN will telecast the first C-USA semifinal Friday afternoon.

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