Cards pull away late for big win over Hoyas

No. 6 Louisville (22-5, 13-2) pulled away late for an impressive 76-58 win over Georgetown Monday night that moved the Cardinals into a first place tie in the Big East.

Earl Clark scored 22 points, and No. 6 Louisville overcame 16 turnovers with good defense and solid 3-point shooting Monday night in a 76-58 victory over Georgetown that moved the Cardinals into a tie for first place in the Big East.

The Cardinals started 9-for-9 from the field -- their first miss coming nearly 11 minutes in -- and were 7-for-7 from 3-point range well into the second half. The marksmanship was more of a necessity than a luxury because they were so careless with the ball, but the initial shooting burst was enough to build a lead that kept Georgetown at bay throughout the second half.

Samardo Samuels, Terrence Williams and Preston Knowles added 10 points apiece for the Cardinals (22-5, 13-2), who have won four straight and are tied with Connecticut atop the conference standings. Louisville had a 17-point first-half lead cut to eight in the second half and shot only 15-for-35 after the 9-for-9 start, but the defense forced 14 Georgetown turnovers and held the Hoyas to 31 percent shooting in the second half.

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Chris Wright scored 12 points, and Greg Monroe had 10 for the Hoyas (14-12, 5-10), who have lost nine of 11 as they continue their challenging spin through the nation's basketball elite. Georgetown has now played six teams currently ranked in the top 10, and they'll make it seven against No. 10 Villanova on Saturday. The Hoyas are 2-4 in those games.

The loss also dropped the Hoyas to 12th place in the Big East, just six weeks after they were ranked No. 9 in the country. Louisville, meanwhile, avenged a 55-52 loss to Georgetown in the game that decided the Big East regular-season title a year ago.

Samuels got the better of Monroe in the battle of freshmen centers -- at least while the game was still in the balance. Samuels got behind the Georgetown center to score two of the Cardinals' first three baskets and finished 4-for-5 from the field. Monroe, by contrast, didn't take a shot until a wayward 16-foot jumper more than 5 minutes into the game and went 4-for-7.

The Cardinals didn't miss a field goal until Clark's short jumper barely hit the rim with 9:01 remaining in the half, but by then Louisville already had 26-13 lead. Clark's 3-pointer gave Louisville a 41-24 lead with 3 minutes to play in the half, but Georgetown's Jessie Sapp scored the final seven points of the period, including a bank-shot 3-pointer at the horn that cut the lead to 41-31.

The Cardinals started the second half with turnovers on their first three possessions, but Georgetown could only cut the deficit to eight. The momentum began to swing back in Louisville's favor on Williams' fast-break dunk and free throw, a three-point play that increased the lead to 14 with 8:02 to play.


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