for this game

Louisville's 3-point barrage buries Boise State

Mar 22, 2008 - 5:48 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Ticker) -- Louisville beat Boise State at its own game.

Earl Clark scored 15 points and the third-seeded Cardinals buried 12 3-pointers to roll to a 79-61 victory over the 14th-seeded Broncos in the East Regional on Friday night.

Boise State ranked 18th in the country in 3-pointers made but were held to just 4-of-17 from the arc by Louisville (25-8), which snapped a two-game losing streak.

Instead, it was the Cardinals who showed off some dazzling long-range firepower in advancing to a second-round meeting with No. 6 seed Oklahoma on Sunday.

"We talked - I told the guys that we're going to make a lot of threes tonight because they're going to take away our interior," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "And, I said, we got to create a lot of movement, which we did do. We need to make the extra pass, work inside to out. And we did a good job of doing that.

"So, we knew the three was a going to be there, but stopping the three is very difficult, especially when you press as much as we press."

Stopping the Broncos (25-9) was not difficult at all for the Cardinals, whose calling card has been offensive balance and a tenacious defense which ranked sixth nationally, holding opponents to 38 percent shooting.

But Louisville was an offensive machine, shooting 56 percent overall (29-of-52). Juan Palacios scored 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting and Jerry Smith nailed four 3-pointers en route to tallying 12 points.

"I think we had a good game plan tonight really," Boise State forward Matt Nelson said. "We executed it well, too. It's just we didn't expect them to shoot 50 percent from the 3-point line."

The Cardinals jumped out to a 10-1 lead and went ahead, 16-7, on a 3-pointer by Palacios - the fourth of the game for the Cardinals.

"We talk about getting off to a good start, and I thought they set the tone at the beginning of the game versus us setting the tone," Boise State coach Greg Graham said.

The Broncos crept back to within 18-15 before Edgar Sosa and freshman Preston Knowles answered with consecutive shots from the arc.

Overall, Louisville hit 8-of-15 3-pointers in the first half to build a 44-31 lead at the break.

Widebody Derrick Caracter also provided a boost for the Cardinals, coming off the bench in the first half to score seven of his nine points, including a pair of thunderous dunks.

"I just wanted to give a lift to my team and stay positive and help my teammates cheer them on," Caracter said. "When I get in, I want to play as hard as possible, and do whatever I can do for my teammates and my team."

The sizzling outside shooting continued in the second half for the Cardinals. Andre McGee buried back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the margin to 54-35 with 16:51 to play.

"Them shooting the threes against the zone ... that was the thing that hasn't been the strong suit for them all year, but tonight it definitely was," Graham said. "And it was, it's been our strong suit and tonight it wasn't."

Boise State never got the lead under double digits thereafter against Louisville, which finished 12-of-24 from the arc.

Nelson finished with 17 points and Reggie Larry added 14 for the Broncos, who committed 19 turnovers.

"I think they had to earn everything," Pitino said. "We played that hard tonight because of our respect level for Boise State."