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Carter, Notre Dame continue surge into Big East

Jan 4, 2007 - 7:32 AM SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Not even a move into conference play could slow down Notre Dame's sizzling play.

Russell Carter scored 19 points and Luke Harangody added 15 as No. 22 Notre Dame captured its 12th straight win, a 78-62 victory over Louisville in the Big East Conference opener for both schools.

Tory Jackson scored 14 points and Rob Kurz chipped in 10 for the Fighting Irish (13-1), who blew open a tight contest with 16-2 run late in the first half.

Carter sank all three of his 3-point attempts en route to posting 13 points in the first half as Notre Dame held a 43-29 advantage at intermission.

The Irish were able to surge to the lead despite facing a full-court press for most of the contest. They finished with nine turnovers, compared to 15 by the Cardinals.

"What helps us is our big guys can handle the ball," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "Zach (Hillesland) and Rob (Kurz) helped bring it up the court and took some pressure off our point guard. That's something versatility-wise that helps us, those two guys being able to handle the basketball."

The rout of the Cardinals was the finale of a 13-game homestand for the Irish, who visit Georgetown on Saturday.

"Georgetown is supposed to be ranked 17th in the country and is a team with a powerful front line," Brey said. "We have to be smart defensively. If we can carry over our intelligence defensively from there to there, we are going to be all right."

Notre Dame played its second straight game without starting guard Kyle McAlarney, who was suspended indefinitely Saturday after getting arrested for a marijuana possession charge. McAlarney was averaging 10.3 points a game.

Jackson filled in by making his second career start, handing out four assists and collecting three steals against four turnovers.

"What can you say about the young point guard who we rushed in there?" Brey said. "The thing that doesn't show up in the stat sheet is how he is all over the place defensively. He guards everybody and got some key strips when we were getting the double-digit lead. This is a big maturing process for him."

Terrence Williams scored 18 points for Louisville (10-5), which shot 41 percent (22-of-54) in having its five-game winning streak snapped.

Derrick Caracter had nine points off the bench and fellow freshman Jerry Smith added five and five rebounds in starting for the sixth time in 15 games.

"We have players that are struggling, so I decided to go with freshmen," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "I know you can't win with freshmen. They are talented but not overly fundamental. I'm looking certainly not to give up and (stop) paying attention, but I have to give the freshmen playing time. That is the only way to improve."

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    LOUISVILLE 29 33 62
    NOTRE DAME (22) 43 35 78 FINAL

    Jan 3 7:50 PM


    Jan 3 6:47 PM