Men's Basketball Falls To Louisville, 110-86
March 6, 2002
By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI - Bryant Northern scored a career-high 25 points and led a 3-point shooting binge that swept Louisville to a 110-86 victory over TCU on Wednesday in the first round of the Conference USA tournament.
Louisville (18-11) riddled the conference's worst defense, hitting 15 of its 30 3-point shots, as it made another breakthrough in coach Rick Pitino's first season. The Cardinals will play Marquette in the quarterfinals Thursday.
The Cardinals went 12-19 last season under Denny Crum and lost in the first round of the conference tournament. Pitino, who led Kentucky to the Final Four in 1997, is 25-6 in conference tournaments.
Coach Billy Tubbs sat on the scorer's table, crossed his legs and grimaced as TCU (16-15) struggled to keep up. He and leading scorer Junior Blount (31 points) got technical fouls as the frustration mounted in the second half.
Tubbs announced before the season that this would be his last at TCU, where he went 156-95 with one NCAA tournament appearance. Overall, Tubbs is 595-297 in 28 seasons at Southwestern Texas, Lamar and Oklahoma and TCU.
Reece Gaines scored 30 points for Louisville, going 11-of-16 from the field, while Northern led the spurt that left TCU too far behind. Northern missed only one of nine shots and was 6-of-7 on 3-point attempts.
TCU's frenetic style kept it close at the outset - there were four ties and eight lead changes in the first nine minutes. When TCU pulled in its defense to stop Louisville under the basket, the Cardinals fired away and pulled away.
The Cardinals ran off four consecutive 3-pointers, the last two by Northern,
during a 12-3 run that made it 43-30. Gaines had 20 points in Louisville's
highest-scoring half of the season, which ended with a 56-43 lead.
Northern hit five of his first six shots in the second half - three of them 3-pointers - for a 69-47 lead that started the frustration building on the TCU bench.
The same thing happened during Louisville's 93-85 win over the Horned Frogs on Jan. 12, when the Cardinals shot a school-record 40 3-pointers and made 11 of them.
The run-and-gun pace was typical for TCU, which led the conference in scoring (81.2 points per game) and was last in defense (83.4 allowed per game).
Louisville reached the 100-point mark for the first time this season when Ellis Myles hit two free throws with 4:30 to go, making it 101-78.