Cards rout 49ers, 100-59

#15 Louisville (21-6, 11-5) routed Charlotte 100-59 Saturday night to conclude the regular season. The Cards next play Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament against the winner of the Houston-Tulane game.

Cards Wallop Charlotte to Close Regular Season

On a night to honor three seniors, it was two unexpected juniors who stole the show in Freedom Hall.

Luke Whitehead poured in 19 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, and Kendall Dartez added 16 points as Louisville closed out the regular season with a 100-59 route of Charlotte in front of 19,724 fans on senior night.

Many in the crowd sported signs aimed at the NCAA and their latest investigation into center Marvin Stone, who sat out for the second time in the past three games.


"This was a wonderful senior night, probably the best I have been a part of," said Cardinal head coach Rick Pitino. "To be 21-6 is an unbelievable season. I thought before the year started that we would be a (NCAA) bubble team, but that we could make the tournament because of playing the Conference USA tournament in Freedom Hall."

Louisville (21-6, 11-5 C USA) started slowly, but took their first lead of the game when Francisco Garcia hit Taquan Dean for a lay up with 14:09 left in the first half to go up 15-14. The Cards closed the half with a 26-9 run over the final 9:26 to take a 49-33 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Cardinals poured it on, extending the lead to 75-45 on a layup by Simeon Naydenov at the 10:32 mark. With 8:26 remaining in the game, Louisville made the play of the year that brought the crowd to its feet.

Naydenov stole the ball in the corner and hit a streaking Reece Gaines with a cross court bounce pass, Gaines turned to avoid a Charlotte defender and passed the ball backwards over his head to a streaking Alhaji Mohhamed Jr. for a lay up.

Following the game, Pitino was happy with the team's performance despite the loss of Stone to provide a post presence.

I was really proud of Luke," he said. "He could have hung his head after the DePaul game, but he didn't. I told him he would have to rebound the ball and he did that, plus he had six assist and eight deflections."

The second-year coach also heaped praise on Dartez, who started in the absence of Stone. Kendall is a different type of post player," Pitino said. "He gets pushed off the block, but he has a good jump hook and a good jumper. He is getting better and better and hopefully this will get his confidence up heading into the conference tournament."

Louisville connected on 13 three-point shots and shot 52 percent from the field and 91.7 percent from the foul line. Gaines added 13 points and Dean 12.

Demon Brown led Charlotte (13-15, 8-8) with 12 points and Calvin Clemmons added 10.

Louisville will receive a first round bye when the Conference USA tourney opens Wednesday. Louisville will play Thursday at 3:30.


Pitino hands out season awards

Following the game Pitino handed out the season awards and several players collected hardware.

Here is the list:

Most Valuable Player: Reece Gaines
Free Throw Percentage: Francisco Garcia
Field Goal Percentage: Ellis Myles
Three Point percentage: Francisco Garcia
Assists: Reece Gaines
Deflections: Francisco Garcia
Rebounding: Ellis Myles
Outstanding Defensive Player: Marvin Stone
Most Improved: Taquan Dean
Grade Point Average: Alhaji Mohhamed Jr.
Hustle: Otis George
Best Attitude: Dean and Garcia

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