Louisville defeats Arizona, MSU Next

NCAA Arizona Louisville BasketballThe Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team soundly defeated the Arizona Wildcats last night 103-64 in one of Louisville’s most lopsided victories of the season.  The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead and just never looked back.  They were truly firing on all cylinders and played what may have been their best game all year.

Earl Clark had 19 points and nine rebounds while four other Cardinals scored in double figures.  Jerry Smith and Terrence Williams hit four three pointers each.  Samardo Samuels was on top of things defensively as he picked up 5 rebounds and 2 blocks and kept Arizona big man Jordan Hill very quiet.  Chase Budinger led the Wildcats with 22 points.

“We played great tonight because we really passed the ball beautifully,” coach Rick Pitino said. “It’s fun as a coach to watch the guys be so unselfish.”

Pitino wasn’t the only one having fun.  The entire team was virtually all smiles after really running away with the game about midway through the second half.  Edgar Sosa was posing for the camera and the starters were enthusiastically waving towels on the bench as the reserves continued to manhandle Arizona late in the second half.

“It’s going to be tough to duplicate playing as well as we did tonight,” Jerry Smith said. “I think this is the best we played all season.”

It might be.  Arizona was the only double-digit seeded team to advance to the Sweet 16 and many felt like they were perhaps the “worst” team to advance that far.  Nonetheless, if Louisville plays like that against any team, they shouldn’t really have a problem coming away with a victory.

“They shot the ball well, they moved the ball well and, unfortunately for us, we didn’t have an answer,” Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell said. “I think there was a reason Louisville was seeded No. 1 in the tournament and they showed that tonight.”

They sure did.

The Cardinals take on the Spartans of Michigan State on Sunday at 2:20 PM for a chance to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2005.

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