for this game

Fast start fuels Louisville past Georgetown

Feb 24, 2009 - 4:07 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Louisville held on after a fast start, and may have signaled the end of Georgetown's NCAA Tournament chances in the process.

Earl Clark scored 22 points and Terrence Williams had 10, 11 rebounds and seven assists as sixth-ranked Louisville posted a 76-58 victory over Georgetown on Monday.

Freshman Samardo Samuels and Preston Knowles scored 10 points apiece for the Cardinals (22-5, 13-2 Big East), who moved into a first-place tie with Connecticut (13-2) atop the conference.

"I thought all of us, Connecticut, Pittsburgh four or five was going to win it and I was hoping to be 12-6," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "I thought that would be a very good season, 12-6, with the league this year. But we've been a great road team, the best road team in the Big East over the last three years and that's one of the reasons why we're 13-2."

It was another failed opportunity to record a key win for Georgetown (14-12, 5-10), which has now lost nine of its last 11 contests as it continues to fade.

"We have to play significantly better than we did today," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "The beauty of being in this conference ... you go to New York and you get the chance to fight and get the chance to win it. We have to continue to improve and we have to be better once we get to New York. It's a simple as that."

Ranked as high as eighth in the coaches' poll earlier this season, the Hoyas suffered their most lopsided defeat of the campaign - thanks mostly to the red-hot shooting of the Cardinals.

Clark and Jerry Smith made early shots from the arc as Louisville made its first nine attempts from the field - four coming from the outside - as it took a 26-13 lead with 10:02 left in the first half.

"I thought we were doing a good job, but we were just turning it over too much," Pitino said. "It's evident, if you look at it, every time we shoot a high percentage, look at the shooting percentage of the backcourt in the second half. The press gives us another dimension."

Louisville made 14 of its first 17 shots overall - including all six attempts from the arc - and Clark's 3-pointer extended the Cardinals' bulge to 41-24 with just over three minutes left in the first half.

"Everything about that is difficult to overcome," Thompson said. "They played well. It felt like they got open shots and they put them in the basket."

Georgetown answered as Jessie Sapp scored the final seven points to come within 41-31 at the break. Sapp banked in a desperation 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer for the home team.

The Hoyas were able to close within eight on a couple of occasions during the second half, but the Cardinals never let them get any closer.

Williams had a three-point play and freshman Terrence Jennings followed with a layup that gave Louisville a 62-46 bulge with 7:06 remaining. The Cardinals maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Chris Wright led the way with 12 points for Georgetown, which shot 3-of-16 from the arc.

"We just weren't hitting (3-pointers)," Wright said. "At the same time, we've just got to try to keep playing and make shots."