Clark, Louisville coast by mistake-prone ProvidenceMar 12, 2009 - 9:34 PM By Kevin Pedersen PA SportsTicker Staff Writer
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Louisville's length and full-court press proved to be too much for Providence, which will have a long wait until Selection Sunday.
Big men Earl Clark and freshman Samardo Samuels scored 24 and 22 points, respectively, as the fifth-ranked Cardinals posted a 73-55 victory over the Friars in a Big East quarterfinal matchup on Thursday.
The conference's regular-season champions forced 26 Providence turnovers and held the Friars to just 34 percent (21-of-62) shooting from the field. Louisville (26-5) will play No. 13 Villanova in a semifinal contest on Friday.
"We did a very good job of moving the ball, we did a very good job of defending - we did a very poor job of rebounding and taking care of the ball," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Sometimes in the first game of any tournament, guys realize what's at stake. Nobody wants to go home and throw the ball away too much."
Providence (19-13) defeated DePaul in the second round of the tournament but may have needed one more victory to secure a bid into the NCAAs.
"We're going to be a team that (the NCAA Selection Committee) is going to discuss at length," Friars coach Keno Davis said. "When you talk about finishing in the top half of the Big East, is that enough? Is finishing 10-8 with wins over Syracuse and Pitt, is that enough?
"If any league is going to get half their teams in, you would think with the three teams as potential No. 1 seeds, that they would look favorably (at the Big East)."
Pitino also said that he believes any team that "goes over .500 in the ACC, the Big Ten or Big East" deserves to be in the tournament.
The Friars looked overmatched early as Clark scored six points and Louisville forced four turnovers to grab a 10-3 lead just over four minutes into the contest.
The Friars missed 13 of their first 17 shots, and the Cardinals took their largest lead of the first half at 26-10 after Clark followed up a 3-pointer with an alley-oop dunk off a feed from Edgar Sosa with 5:48 left before intermission.
Providence fought back to cut the margin to eight before going into the locker rooms facing a 34-24 deficit. The teams combined for 28 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes - 15 by the Friars.
"I think a combination of fatigue and a combination of defense from a lot of aggressive players," Davis said of his team's mistakes. "They came out with great pressure, we had some very good looks that didn't go in today that did (Wednesday)."
The Friars hung tough early in the second half, closing within 38-32 on Jonathan Kale's layup with 16:28 to play, but the Cardinals wouldn't allow them to get any closer.
Sosa scored a pair of layups off turnovers during an 8-0 run that gave Louisville a 51-36 lead with 10:31 remaining and the Cardinals were never threatened the rest of the way.
Sharaud Curry's four-point play with 5:20 left cut the Friars' deficit to 61-50, but they were unable to get within single digits. Curry finished with six points on 2-of-8 shooting after scoring 25 against DePaul.
"Curry's a great player," Louisville guard Jerry Smith said. "Coach told us to pressure the ball much as possible and that's what we did."
Clark added a team-high 10 rebounds and seven assists to go with his fifth 20-point game of the season. He and Samuels combined to shoot 20-of-28 from the floor.
Weyinmi Efejuku scored 17 points to pace Providence, which was 2-of-17 from the arc.
"I think they're the most aggressive defense we've had to face and they're consistently aggressive," Efejuku said.
- BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
NCAA BB BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
PROVIDENCE 24 31 55
LOUISVILLE (5) 34 39 73 FINAL
Mar 12 2:04 PM
- BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
NCAA BB PROVIDENCE 24
(5) LOUISVILLE 34 HALFTIME
Mar 12 12:51 PM
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