Wednesday , Feb , 21 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Louisville seek 20th victory of the season

Louisville, KY (Sports Network) – The 20th-ranked Louisville Cardinals gun for
their fourth straight win tonight, as they host the St. John’s Red Storm
in Big East play from Freedom Hall.

The Cardinals moved into the Top-25 this week thanks to an impressive
two-game road trip in which they knocked off a pair of ranked teams in
Pittsburgh (66-53) and most recently Marquette (61-59) on Saturday. The team
has now won seven of its past nine outings en route to 19-8 overall mark and
sole possession of third place in the Big East at 9-4. With a victory tonight,
Louisville would notch its fourth straight 20-win campaign under head coach
Rick Pitino, who has won at least 20 games on 13 occasions.

As for SJU, it enters the tilt on a down note, dropping a 71-66 decision at
Providence on Saturday. The loss was the team’s second in three games, as it
fell to 15-12 overall and 6-8 in conference play. It was also the Red Storm’s
sixth loss in seven Big East games away from home.

As far as the all-time series goes, Louisville holds a 4-3 edge over SJU,
including a 2-0 mark at Freedom Hall.

SJU has been at its best on defense this season, holding its opponents to just
64.0 ppg and only 41.0 percent shooting from the field. The solid defense has
helped compensate for the lack of offense, as the Red Storm is netting a just
64.3 ppg. Lamont Hamilton has done a solid job all season long for SJU and he
leads the team in scoring (13.6 ppg) as well as rebounding (6.7 rpg). Anthony
Mason ranks second to him with 11.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg, while Avery Patterson
chips in with 11.1 ppg. In the team’s last game, Hamilton poured in 20 points
and ripped down nine caroms, but it wasn’t quite enough for the Red Storm in a
five-point setback at Providence. Mason added 19 points for SJU, which went
just 5-of-20 from long range and was dominated on the boards 39-24.

The Cardinals aren’t a flashy team by any means, but they are certainly a
sound one, averaging 70.8 ppg and giving up just 62.6 ppg. Terrence Williams
has done it all for Louisville thus far and he is one of the few players who
can say he leads his team in scoring (11.8 ppg), rebounding (7.1 pg) and
assists (3.7 apg). Edgar Sosa chips in with 10.9 ppg and he has also been a
factor on defense, recording a team-high 42 steals. In the club’s previous
outing, Jerry Smith played the role of hero, as he knocked down a three-
pointer at the buzzer, lifting the Cardinals to a two-point win over Marquette
on Saturday. Smith finished the game 3-of-4 from long range with nine points,
while Sosa led the charge with 15 points and three steals. Louisville shot a
solid 53.3 percent from the field, including a 7-of-17 effort from long