for this game

Strong second half helps Louisville bring down Georgetown

Feb 10, 2008 - 5:55 AM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- A big second-half run helped Louisville end Georgetown's winning streak and make the Big East Conference more than a one-team race.

Senior David Padgett scored a season-high 18 points and Jerry Smith added 16 as the Cardinals snapped the sixth-ranked Hoyas' six-game winning streak with a 59-51 victory in a Big East Conference matchup on Saturday.

Earl Clark chipped in nine points and seven rebounds for Louisville, which trailed by eight at the break after attempting a season-low 16 shots from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

"The guys did a terrific job, in the second half especially," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We were playing good basketball in the first half, but we were turning the ball over too much. I thought Earl did a lot of great things. He was very alive on the backboard and very alive on defense. All of our guys played terrific."

After the Hoyas stretched their lead to 33-23 when Roy Hibbert scored the first basket of the second half, the Cardinals took control and dominated the rest of the contest.

Louisville (18-6, 8-3 Big East) went on a game-changing 21-4 run - keyed by eight points from Smith - to open a 44-37 bulge with 9:49 remaining. Georgetown went scoreless for over eight minutes during that stretch.

"I just told them that as long as you play good defense, you've got a chance to win this game," Pitino said. "I told them that you've got to heat them up in the press and you've got to pressure them. This is a great win for us."

Jeremiah Rivers and Hibbert each hit layups to cut the deficit to three, but Louisville responded with six straight points - capped by a 3-pointer from Clark - to take a 50-41 lead with 4:43 remaining.

The Hoyas (19-3, 9-2), who shot just 35 percent (8-of-23) in the second half, could get no closer than five as the Cardinals made 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute.

"It was a different game the second half," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "I don't want to negate anything that they did, they were extremely attentive and turned up the heat a little bit. But I think it was a lapses on our part. They are a very good team. They play well together and that showed up in the second half."

The win moves the Cardinals, who were the co-preseason No. 1 team along with the Hoyas, into sole possession of third place in the conference - just one game behind Georgetown and one-half game behind Notre Dame (8-2).

Clinging to a two-point lead midway through the first half, Patrick Ewing Jr. scored four points during an 8-2 Georgetown spurt that gave the Hoyas a 22-14 lead with 4:57 left in the half.

The Cardinals had closed to within three but freshman Austin Freeman made a 3-pointer and a layup - after a Hibbert block - right before the halftime buzzer to give the Hoyas a 31-23 advantage at the intermission.

Freeman and Hibbert each had 14 points for Georgetown, which made only 4-of-22 shots from the arc while being outscored, 18-3, at the foul line.

"I think it is like Coach said, we just gotta keep running our offense," Hibbert said. "It is just that they played extremely well. I think we need to be more disciplined than we were."