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Updated: Friday, January 17, 2003 12:23 AM EST
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(18) Louisville 87, East Carolina 70
Louisville Cardinals
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East Carolina Pirates
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GREENVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Louisville displayed its amazing depth to notch its 10th straight win.

Marvin Stone scored 23 points and Reece Gaines added 22 as the 18th-ranked Cardinals built a huge lead and cruised to an 87-70 Conference USA rout of East Carolina.

Louisville (11-1, 3-0 C-USA American) has not lost since an 86-84 defeat to Purdue on November 30. The Cardinals avenged an 87-77 loss here last season, the Pirates' first league win.

"We're very excited about the win," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "It's not an easy place to play."

East Carolina (10-4, 1-2) scored the game's first four points before Louisville responded with 10 straight. The Pirates took their final lead, 15-14, on two free throws by Erroyl Bing 11:54 before halftime.

The Cardinals responded with a devastating 15-0 spurt. Ellis Myles scored all six of his points in the run and Kendall Dartez added four, including two free throws for a 29-15 advantage with seven minutes to go.

"They have a good team," Pitino said. "They are good at passing the ball out of pressure. We took away all their cuts."

Nine different players scored as Louisville opened a 45-26 halftime cushion. It started the second half with a 10-1 tear, taking a 55-27 lead on freshman Taquan Dean's basket with 17:07 remaining.

"They are an excellent basketball team," Pirates coach Bill Herrion said. "They are the best teamin the conference."

Louisville is off to its best start since the 1996-97 season and is 4-0 on the road, already surpassing last season's three road victories.

"We played great basketball tonight," Pitino said. "If you want to be a great basketball team, you have to do it in this kind of atmosphere."

The Cardinals shot 59 percent (19-of-32) in the first half and suffocated the Pirates on the other end. East Carolina was limited to just under 30 percent (8-of-27) in the first half and finished at 38 percent (23-of-60).

The Pirates, who posted a 73-70 upset of Marquette here on December 30, saw a five-game C-USA home winning streak end.

"Our shot selection in the first half was very poor," Herrion said. "We are getting overpowered, giving up a lot of points."

The hot shooting for Louisville was a result of a plethora of easy baskets as it went inside to Stone, who made 9-of-11 shots. Myles had 11 rebounds and Gaines made 9-of-12 shots and added six assists.

"Marvin Stone is starting to get the aggressiveness of Ellis Myles," Pitino said. "With his skills, if he gets that kind of aggressiveness, he is going to get better.

"Reece Gaines played a great game, (with) five assists, no turnovers in the first half."

Dean and Dartez each scored eight points and reserve Larry O'Bannon had seven for Louisville. Gaines and Myles were the only Cardinals to play more than 30 minutes.

Derrick Wiley scored 21 points for East Carolina and Bing added 16 and 12 rebounds. But the Pirates shot only 19 percent (4-of-21) from beyond the arc and misfired on 11-of-31 foul shots.

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