Cards fall to Panthers in Big East semis

After building an 11-point halftime lead, the University of Louisville was unable to overcome a 20-2 second half run by Pittsburgh in Big East Tournament semi-final action...

Less than 24 hours after the University of Louisville had completed a thrilling 82-71 double-overtime win over West Virginia for the right to advance to the Big East Tournament semi-finals, the 12th-ranked Cardinals, winners of seven straight, tipped off against No.13 Pittsburgh.

And just as the Cardinals quarterfinal win over the Mountaineers was a rollar-coaster ride, so was Saturday's match-up against the third-seeded Panthers. U of L, which defeated Pittsburgh by 13 last month, came up short in their second meeting, falling 65-59.

Louisville (23-9) was able to draw early fouls on Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray, but it seemed unable to use the 1st Team All-Big East selection's time on the bench to it's advantage for much of the first half. Holding just a one-point lead with 2:29 remaining in the first half, the Cardinals closed the first 20 minutes of play on a 10-0 run for a 37-26 advantage at the break.

Terrence Williams had five of the Cardinals' 10 points during the run. Panther center Aaron Gray played only four minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. With Gray on the sidelines for most of the first half, Louisville out-rebounded Pitt 25-12.

Pittsburgh, which is making it's sixth trip to the league championship in the last seven seasons, began the second half with a flurry, outscoring Louisville 10-0 during the opening three minutes to take a 39-37 lead.

The Panthers offensive flurry developed into a 22-4 run and 48-41 advantage with 12:35 to play. An Edgar Sosa three-pointer pulled Louisville within one at the 6:54 mark, but the Cardinals were never able to retake the lead.

Williams led Louisville with 18 points, 7 rebounds and a game-high 9 assists. Freshman Earl Clark totaled a career-high 12 rebounds. The Cardinals shot 38.7% from the field and hit just 8 of 28 three-point attempts. While the Panthers overcame foul trouble to their big men, they dominated from the charity stripe, outscoring the Cardinals by 17 from the free throw line.

NOTES:

  • The nine assists by Terrence Williams ties his career high. He also dished out nine against Ohio in December. He‘s now 17 assists shy of reaching 200 for his career.
  • This was the first game this season that Louisville failed to win after leading at halftime. U of L is now 19-1 this season when leading at the half.
  • The Cardinals will watch Selection Sunday from Minardi Hall.
  • TOURNAMENT STATISTICS:

    NO. PLAYER PPG RPG NOTES
    1 Terrence Williams 19.5 8.0 Totaled 13 assists; 4-of-12 3-ptrs.
    4 David Padgett 12.0 6.0 Career best 5 assists against WVU; 4 blocks
    5 Earl Clark 11.5 10.5 Started both games for injured Juan Palacios
    10 Edgar Sosa 8.5 4.0 5-of-19 from the floor
    11 Brandon Jenkins 5.5 1.5 Scoreless in 13 minutes against Pitt
    15 Perrin Johnson 2.5 0.0 Played for a combined 24 minutes.
    20 Will Scott 1.5 0.5 1-of-6 three-pointers
    32 Derrick Caracter 2.5 2.5 Had 4 turnovers against Pitt
    33 Andre McGee 3.0 2.0 2-of-9 from the floor; 3 assists
    34 Jerry Smith 4.0 1.5 Totaled four assists
    43 Terrance Farley 0.0 0.5 Played a total of four minutes

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