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Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2003 11:00 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(25) Louisville 80, Charlotte 59
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Louisville Cardinals
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CHARLOTTE 49ERS
Charlotte 49ers
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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Erik Brown scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Reece Gaines hit four 3-pointers as 25th-ranked Louisville's winning streak grew to eight games with an 80-59 victory over Charlotte in a Conference USA matchup.

Brown led the Cardinals (9-1, 1-0 C-USA American) in scoring for the first time this season and Louisville beat Charlotte for just the second time in six meetings.

Gaines made 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and six Cardinals contributed to their 14-of-29 shooting from 3-point range (48 percent). Meanwhile, Louisville held Charlotte to just 2-of-17 (11.8 percent).

"In this conference, any road win is a big win," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. "We had to move more to get better open shots. We did a good job."

Louisville had a two-point lead midway through the first when it embarked on a 13-1 run during a 2:16 span. Freshman Taquan Dean ignited the outburst with a shot from beyond the arc and Larry O'Bannon capped it with a 3-pointer to open a 36-22 cushion with just under seven minutes left until halftime.

Freshman Curtis Withers paced Charlotte with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Tory Reed chipped in 11 and nine, but the 49ers (5-7, 0-1 C-USA American) dropped their fourth straight game.

"Louisville is very impressive," 49ers coach Bobby Lutz said. "If they can shoot like that, then they can shoot with anybody in the country."

The Cardinals went 14-of-28 from the floor after the break and effectively put the game away with a 10-0 second-half burst.

Louisville enjoyed a nine-point cushion when Brown sparked the Cardinals with a jumper, making it 63-52 with 8 1/2 minutes to play.

Luke Whitehead then scored six of his 15 points during the next two minutes. The junior forward hit two baskets around a pair of free throws and increased Louisville's lead to 17.

Whitehead then set up Brown's basket with 5:20 remaining as the Cardinals took a commanding 71-52 advantage. The 6-7 Whitehead handed out eight assists.


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