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Clark helps Louisville edge Miami of Ohio

Dec 2, 2007 - 12:58 AM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Earl Clark used his offense and defense to help avoid the upset.

Clark scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had five blocks as No. 10 Louisville squeaked out a 47-44 victory over Miami of Ohio on Saturday.

Derrick Caracter had 12 points and five rebounds and Terrence Williams chipped in 12 and seven for Louisville (5-1), which has won two straight following its first loss of the season, a 78-76 decision to Brigham Young in the Las Vegas Invitational on November 23.

This was the lowest scoring game of the season for the Cardinals, who had to play a slower tempo than they are used to due to the Redhawks' deliberate halfcourt offense.

"We wanted to speed them up, we tried to turn them over, but they just wouldn't let us," Louisville guard Edgar Sosa said. "They're very smart and very wise."

"It was not a fun game to play in," Clark said.

Miami's style of play gave it a 22-21 lead at the half thanks almost entirely to forward Tim Pollitz.

The 6-6, 230-pound senior scored 18 first-half points on a variety of hooks, finger rolls and deft drop steps.

"We thought he could score, but we didn't think he could dominate us like that," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.

However, Clark, who connected on 4-of-13 shots from the floor, used the height of his 6-8 frame in the second half to frustrate Pollitz and disrupt the Miami offense.

"We got in front of him and I made a few blocks," Clark said. "I wanted to take the challenge of guarding him."

Pollitz, who was 9-of-16 in the first half, was just 2-of-6 in the second.

Clark was also better offensively after halftime.

After missing six of his seven shots over the opening 20 minutes, the sophomore followed his own miss with 2:28 left, giving Louisville a 43-42 advantage.

Clark then made a layup to increase the Cardinals' lead to three with 1:40 remaining.

After Kenny Hayes made a 17-foot jumper to cut the Redhawks' deficit to 45-44, Clark rebounded a layup attempt by Michael Bramos with six seconds left before Sosa later made two free throws to increase the lead back to three.

"Their defense was good that last 30 seconds," Pollitz said. "Bramos took a tough runner. We tried to get something going to the basket, the dice just rolled their way."

Williams then intercepted Miami's inbounds attempt as the game ended.

Louisville shot 42 percent (18-of-43) while holding Miami to 37 percent (18-of-49).

"It was a good win for us," Sosa said. "We might meet up with a team like that in the NCAA Tournament."

Hayes scored 11 points for the Redhawks (3-3), who have lost eight straight games against ranked teams.