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Updated: Friday, January 16, 2004 12:57 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(9) Louisville 76, East Carolina 66

GREENVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Larry O'Bannon and Taquan Dean scored 16 points apiece as ninth-ranked Louisville held on for a 76-66 Conference USA victory over East Carolina.

Louisville, which led by as many as 23 points early in the second half, posted its 12th straight win and fifth in a row by double figures. The Cardinals (12-1, 3-0 C-USA) have not lost since a season-opening overtime defeat to Iowa.

Derrick Wiley scored 23 points for East Carolina (8-5, 0-3), which suffered its fourth straight loss and ninth consecutive defeat in conference play.

The Pirates played without second-leading scorer Gabriel Mikulas, who broke his arm in practice Wednesday and is out for the season.

Louisville, which ranks second in the nation in scoring margin at 23 points per game, converted 16 East Carolina turnovers into 22 points.

Both teams struggled from the floor with Louisville shooting just 36.5 percent (23-of-63) and East Carolina 41 percent (24-of-58).

Dean and O'Bannon hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Cardinals opened the second half with a 10-0 spurt to build a 48-28 cushion.

Francisco Garcia fouled out with 11 points and Luke Whitehead grabbed 10 rebounds for Louisville. The Cardinals converted 21-of-23 free throws, including 13-of-15 in the second half.

Mike Cook added 12 points off the bench for East Carolina.


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