Cards get hot, bounce Boise State

No. 3 seed Louisville found their shooting touch in a 79-61 first round NCAA Tournament win over No. 14-seed Boise State Friday night in Birmingham, AL. The Cardinals will play Oklahoma Sunday at 5 p.m. in the NCAA Tournament second round.

No. 3 seed Louisville found their shooting touch in a 79-61 first round NCAA Tournament win over No. 14-seed Boise State Friday night in Birmingham, AL.

"We played well tonight for an opening game but I thought we played better in the Garden and against Georgetown," Rick Pitino said. "I think we guarded the three well and did a lot of good things in the interior. And we did a good job of moving the basketball."

The Cardinals, who had struggled with their outside shooting in recent losses to Georgetown and Pittsburgh, shot an excellent 50 percent – 12 of 24 – from three-point range. For the game, UofL shot a blistering 56 percent from floor.

"We knew we were going to get a lot of three's and we did a good job making the extra pass," Pitino said. "Their philosophy was to take away Padgett on the inside."

Earl Clark delivered for the Cardinals
off the bench.

Jerry Smith shot himself out of his recent shooting slump against the Broncos. The sophomore guard hit 4-of-8 three's after making only 4-of-27 shots and 2-of-19 three's in the Cardinals last three games. Smith finished with 12 points.

Earl Clark led Louisville with 15 points. Clark also had seven rebounds. Juan Palacios scored 13 points and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor. David Padgett and Terrence Williams each had 9 points. Williams led UofL with 8 rebounds and six assists.

"I just wanted to play hard and do whatever I can for my team," said Clark.

Derrick Caracter hit 4-of-4 shots and scored nine points off the bench. Caracter played 19 minutes after David Padgett picked up two early fouls and sat out the last 17 minutes of the first half.

While the Cardinals were impressive offensively, it was their defense against the high scoring Broncos that set the tone. Louisville employed a swarming press with tight half court man-to-man to force 18 turnovers, generate 10 steals and block 6 shots. The Cardinals also held the Broncos to 21 points below their season average and limited them to only 4-17 from three-point range.

6-9 Matt Nelson led Boise State with 17 points. Reggie Larry had 14 points and Tyler Tiedeman scored 12.

Rick Pitino now must prepare his team for a game
Sunday against Oklahoma.

Louisville was in command of the game from the start. The Cardinals jumped out to a 10-1 lead and never looked back. Boise did cut Louisville's lead to three 18-15 midway through the first half but the Cardinals went on a 12-2 run during a three minute spurt to open the lead again. UofL led 44-31 at halftime.

Louisville scored the first four points after the break to set the tone for the final half. Boise State never got closer than 13 points in the second half.

The Cardinals also got a huge boost from their bench, out-scoring the Broncos' bench 30-9.

Louisville will face No. 6 seeded Oklahoma at 5 p.m. Sunday. Oklahoma knocked off No. 11 seeded St. Joseph's 72-64 Friday night.

Box Score

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