Horned Frogs Fall To Top-Seeded Cardinals, 85-61
March 10, 2005
By TERESA M. WALKER
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Larry O'Bannon scored 18 points to lead five Louisville players in double figures, and the sixth-ranked Cardinals beat TCU 85-61 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament.
The top-seeded Cardinals (27-4) never trailed in winning their seventh straight game and 16th in their last 17. They will play either UAB or DePaul in the semifinals on Friday as they try to add the tournament title to their regular-season championship.
The Cardinals were at full strength after tests found Taquan Dean is clear of the mononucleosis that had limited him to coming off the bench the previous five games. Instead, Dean started his first game since Feb. 12, six days before he was diagnosed with the virus.
Dean finished with 12 points. Francisco Garcia had 15 for Louisville, and Otis George added 11 and Ellis Myles 10 with 10 rebounds. Louisville outrebounded TCU 41-28.
Aaron Curtis led TCU with 14 points.
The Horned Frogs tried to stay with the Cardinals, pressing them down the court. But George scored on a jumper in the opening minute to put Louisville ahead to stay.
Nile Murry pulled TCU within 19-15 with a pair of free throws with 5:38 to go, and that was as close as the Horned Frogs would get. Louisville finished the half with a 17-4 spurt, including 11 straight points that included Garcia hitting the Cardinals' first 3-pointer of the game.
Brandon Jenkins and Dean each added a 3 down the stretch, and Louisville led 36-19 at halftime.
Louisville padded its lead with a 17-2 spurt in the second half, including nine straight points highlighted by a reverse dunk by O'Bannon off a pass from Myles. Garcia capped the run with a 3-pointer that put the Cardinals up 63-31 with 13:05 to go and their biggest lead of the game.
TCU managed to pull within 23 twice, the last on a 3-pointer by Neil Dougherty with 1:55 left at 83-60.
This is the second straight year that TCU won its first-round game and met the top seed in the quarterfinals. The Horned Frogs advanced Wednesday after beating Marquette with Golden Eagles star Travis Diener watching from the bench with a broken left hand.