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News Nuggets, 03.06.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

C-USA Roundup: Cards buck trend on day of upsets


03.05.05: Last chance for Cardinals to earn an outright title ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... SEC football to use instant replay next season ... More...
03.04.05: ECU sprint sensation speeds to the big bucks ... Cards thump 49ers to nail down top seed ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... Spurrier lays down law on behavior at USC ... More...
03.03.05: Burglary rap adds to latest turmoil at South Carolina ... C-USA roundup: 49ers, Cards collide; SLU stuns Tigers ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
03.02.05: Tulane, with an eye on ECU, faces Cincinnati ... South Carolina rushing star gets the boot ... C-USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
03.01.05: Self-recrimination mounts for iconic Temple coach ... Louisville, Charlotte, Cincy climb in hoops poll ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.28.05: Mother nature stops baseball Pirates' weekend roll ... College baseball coach wins 1,400th game ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.27.05: Merritt makes splash at C-USA Indoor meet ... C-USA roundup: 49ers, Cards on collision course ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.26.05: Hapless Campbell searching for end to futility ... Suspended players off Tar Heel football team ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.25.05: WVU, new league foes spice up ECU football slate ... High-flying Charlotte ready for Southern Miss ... Marquette gets sour taste of life without Diener ... Conference USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.24.05: C-USA roundup: Charlotte gains share of first place ... Tough 'break' in practice ends Diener's season ... Conference USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.23.05: No. 21 Charlotte hosts Memphis in pivotal league matchup ... Diener, DePaul prevail over South Florida ... Conference USA standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.22.05: State turns defense over to former Syracuse assistant ... Mountain West adopts instant replay for 2005 ... Louisville, Charlotte advance in AP hoops poll ... More...
02.21.05: Fourth-and-10 for legislator's anti-BCS bill ... C- USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.20.05: C-USA roundup: Ailing Bearcats fight off UAB ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.19.05: South Carolina fined by SEC for fans rushing court ... Shocker boosts Hokies hoops to new pinnacle ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...
02.18.05: Cards escape Milwaukee with win after Marquette collapse ... Former juco coach charged with conning Louisville ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... More...

ROSEMONT, IL — What great timing for Larry O'Bannon and Louisville. With the postseason just around the bend, they're on a roll.

O'Bannon missed just one shot Saturday, scoring 24 points as the ninth-ranked Cardinals clinched the Conference USA regular-season title outright by beating DePaul 66-62.

``He's in a zone and he worked himself into that zone from last summer to this point. He deserves what's happening,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of his senior guard.

The Cardinals (26-4, 14-2), who'd already clinched the top seed in the conference tournament by beating Charlotte on Thursday, won for the 15th time in 16 games and finished 9-1 on the road.

The 49ers, meanwhile, appear to have the opposite of momentum going into the Mar. 9-12 C-USA Tournament in Memphis. On Saturday, Charlotte was flat in losing an 85-73 shocker at South Florida, one of the league's worst teams.

In other C-USA games on Saturday, more upsets were in store as last-place Southern Miss stunned Texas Christian 66-64 and Saint Louis tripped up Marquette 51-39.

Cincinnati edged Memphis 62-60, UAB defeated Houston 71-66 and Tulane nailed down the 12th and final spot in the 14-team league's tournament with a 77-71 victory over East Carolina to round out the day's action.

But the headliner of the day was clearly Louisville's win over DePaul.

The Cardinals played their typical pressure defense and got a second straight offensive outburst from O'Bannon.

``We had to make big shots to win this game,'' Pitino said.

And O'Bannon did just that.

He had 18 of his points in the second half, including 10 in the final six minutes. He finished the game 6-for-7 from the field, while hitting all five of his 3-point attempts and all seven of his free throws.

``I really wasn't thinking about taking over the game. My teammates got me open, they set some solid screens and I got open shots,'' O'Bannon said.

O'Bannon followed a career-high 33-point effort against Charlotte on Thursday night with another stellar performance, despite the short turnaround.

``If you come and watch us practice, we do it daily,'' O'Bannon said of his team's potential to make shots. ``I've been able to carry it over into the game.''

Sammy Mejia led DePaul (18-9, 10-6) with 21 points and Drake Diener pitched in 15 for the Blue Demons, who are hoping for a bid to the NCAA tournament, despite four losses in their final six games.

``To come up short again... It's tough,'' Diener said.

Pitino said the Blue Demons were deserving and were easily one of the best 65 teams in the country. He said he'd put them in the top 30, but then again he's not on the selection committee.

``I don't know,'' DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. ``I have my head in the sand as we play basketball games. I'm worried about games. I like my team. I think we're good.''

Louisville was good again Saturday, even though leading scorer Francisco Garcia was as cold as O'Bannon was hot, missing nine of his 10 field-goal attempts and scoring just five points, nearly 11 under his average.

But Garcia made up for it in other areas with five rebounds, eight assists, four steals and three blocked shots.

DePaul scoring leader Quemont Greer, averaging 18.7, also struggled in his final home game, going just 4-for-16 from the field — including an airball on a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left — and scoring nine.

``I've trusted him for three years. That's just one play,'' Leitao said. ``We still had time afterward and there were other plays before that where we missed some point-blank shots.''

O'Bannon's fifth 3-pointer gave the Cardinals the lead for good at 60-57 with 4:28 left.

Mejia's layup cut it to one with just under three minutes remaining. Garcia, who didn't score in the first 26 1/2 minutes, hit two free throws with 57.8 seconds left to put Louisville up 62-59.

Ellis Myles then blocked Greer's layup attempt and after a missed follow-up shot, Louisville's Juan Palacios missed a free throw at the other end. That gave DePaul a final chance with 35 seconds to go.

But Greer shot an airball from the corner with 16 seconds to play and after a foul, O'Bannon made two from the line with 13.4 seconds left to put the Cards up 64-59. He hit two more with 5 seconds to go to secure the win.

``We covered O'Bannon well. He made open shots off others penetrating or he made shots over people,'' Leitao said.

Garcia went scoreless during a furiously paced first-half but the Cardinals, behind 54 percent shooting, still managed a 34-32 lead.

DePaul's loss was just its second in 16 games at home this season.

C-USA Final Regular Season Hoops Standings

STANDINGS (through Saturday):

TEAM               CONF   PCT    ALL   PCT
# Louisville       14 2  .875   26 4  .867
Cincinnati         12 4  .750   24 6  .800
Charlotte          12 4  .750   21 6  .778
UAB                10 6  .625   20 9  .690
DePaul             10 6  .625   18 9  .667
Houston             9 7  .563  18 12  .600
Memphis             9 7  .563  16 14  .533
Texas Christian     8 8  .500  18 12  .600
Marquette           7 9  .438  19 10  .655
Saint Louis        6 10  .375   9 20  .310
South Florida      5 11  .313  12 15  .444
Tulane             4 12  .250  10 17  .370
X East Carolina    4 12  .250   9 19  .321
X Southern Miss    2 14  .125  11 17  .393

Note #: Won regular season title
        and clinched top seed in
        Mar. 9-12 Conference USA
        Tournament in Memphis, TN.

Note X: Did not earn one of the 12
        berths in the tournament.


Louisville 66, DePaul 62 (ESPN)
Saint Louis 51, Marquette 39 (ESPN+)
Cincinnati 62, Memphis 60 (ESPN)
Southern Miss 66, Texas Christian 64
South Florida 85, Charlotte 73
UAB 71, Houston 66
Tulane 77, East Carolina 71


C-USA TOURNAMENT, Mar. 9-12, Memphis, TN

Compiled from Conference USA and wire reports.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:21 PM


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