Cards soar past Seton Hall; Earn 2-seed

No. 16 Louisville (22-8, 12-4) soared past Seton Hall Sunday afternoon, 86-71, to close out the regular-season. The win solidified the No. 2 seed for the Cardinals in this weeks Big East Tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Louisville's sixth straight victory, the game was played at an intense, frenetic pace and featured four technical fouls, the ejection of Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez in the games final minute and 19 three-pointers.

"We are proud to get this victory," Rick Pitino said. "There were times we didn't expect to be 12-4. So we were real proud of the way the season ended. We ended very strong. Hopefully we'll come out in the Big East."

"We had nothing to play for but pride," said Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez, whose team didn't qualify for the Big East Tournament. "We wanted to go down swinging, go down fighting, that's what our team did all year; that was our identity. It's my first year as a coach, so the way we finished was very important to us."

The Cardinals received balanced scoring, with five players in double-figures, led by freshman guard Edgar Sosa's 18 points. Terrence Williams and David Padgett both scored 15 points, while 6-9 freshman Derrick Caracter and Jerry Smith added 13 and 10, respectively.

"We have a group of freshmen for every situation. Every difficult situation they came through for us," Pitino said.

Louisville shot 48 percent from the floor, including 9-25 from the three-point line, while holding Seton Hall to just 40 percent. The Pirates, though, stayed in the game thanks to some torrid three-point shooting (10-21) and a career-high scoring effort from forward Brian Laing, who finished with 29 points.

Freshman Edgar Sosa led
the way for the Cards
on Senior Day. (AP)

Though Louisville struggled from the foul stripe, making just 13-26 attempts, the Cardinals compensated on the boards, out-rebounding the Pirates 43-33, blocking seven shots and making six steals.

The Cardinals also handled Seton Hall's pressure extremely well, committing just six turnovers while making 20 assists. Brandon Jenkins and Perrin Johnson both had four assists for Louisville.

"They are a tough team to play against because they trap so much," said Pitino. "We did a good job of handling the basketball. They're averaging 18 forced turnovers (and) we only turned it over six times."

Louisville broke open a tight contest when Earl Clark hit a three-pointer to give the Cardinals a, 77-69, lead with four minutes left. From there, Louisville ended the game on a 12-2 run, finally putting away the scrappy Pirates.

"That's a very good team," Gonzalez said of Louisville. "They're one of the hottest teams in the league."

The Cardinals now will prepare to head to New York for the Big East Tournament. As the No. 2 seed, Louisville will play Thursday night at 7 p.m vs. the winner of the No. 7/No. 10 game Wednesday night.

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