CINCINNATI (AP) - Terrence Williams scored 20 points Saturday,
and No. 7 Louisville dominated up front in a 72-63 victory over
Cincinnati that got the Cardinals back on track and, perhaps, back
into their coach's good graces.
Louisville (21-5, 12-2 Big East) has been smarting from a
33-point loss to Notre Dame on Feb. 12 that prompted coach Rick
Pitino to confiscate their practice gear. They have won three in a
row since, the latest ranking as the best of the bunch.
Williams, who was hobbled by a sprained right wrist for three
games, showed he's fully recovered by scoring from everywhere on
the court and starting a decisive 12-2 run in the second half.
Alvin Mitchell scored 14 points for Cincinnati (17-10, 7-7),
which fell to 1-5 against ranked teams.
Maybe now the Cardinals can get their practice duds back.
Pitino purged the locker room of all Louisville-stamped practice
gear following that stunning loss to Notre Dame. Instead of their
snazzy white-and-red practice jerseys, the Cardinals were consigned
to bottom-shelf apparel - plain shirts and shorts. Why, Pitino even
took away their Adidas socks.
When would they get them back? When they beat somebody on the
road. After dominant wins over DePaul and Providence at Freedom
Hall, the Cardinals hit the road on Saturday with their gear up for
Pitino, dressed nattily in a dark suit, blue shirt and red
checkered tie, got more worked up as his team frittered away
chances to take control in the first half. The Cardinals led by as
many as seven points, but gave the ball away on four of five
possessions during one stretch, allowing Cincinnati to keep it
There were five ties and six lead changes in the half, which
ended with Louisville up 37-34. Louisville opened the second half
with a driving layup by Earl Clark and a dunk by Samardo Samuels,
an indication that its front line was about to take over the game.
The 6-foot-8 Samuels provided a tone-setting moment with 13
minutes to go when he shook loose inside for a basket and drew a
foul. Samuels missed the free throw, but Louisville got the rebound
and went right back to Samuels, who missed a shot, got the rebound
in a crowd and put it in for a 51-45 lead.
Williams had a putback and a 3-pointer that stretched the lead
to 60-51 with 8:37 to go, starting the decisive 12-3 spurt. A
3-pointer by Preston Knowles finished the run and made it 67-54.
The Bearcats also made a fashion statement, wearing special red
uniforms for the second time this season. Their first time in all
red produced a double-digit loss to crosstown rival Xavier.
That's been a season-long pattern for the Bearcats, who entered
the discussion of possible NCAA tournament teams by winning five of
their last seven games. The Bearcats didn't have a bad loss along
the way, but didn't have a signature win, either. Their only win
over a ranked team came over a Georgetown team that's been in a