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Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2005 3:30 AM EST
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(14) Louisville 92, East Carolina 41

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- The 3-point shooting of Taquan Dean and Larry O'Bannon buried East Carolina early.

Dean and O'Bannon each made three from the arc in the first half as No. 14 Louisville rolled to its sixth consecutive victory over Conference USA opponent East Carolina in impressive fashion, 92-41.

Dean, who entered the game just 44 3-pointers shy of second place on the Cardinals' all-time list, made his first two shots from the arc to propel his club to a 14-3 lead.

O'Bannon added two 3-pointers over the next three-plus minutes to push the lead to 21-9 with 10:56 remaining. Louisville (14-3, 4-1 C-USA) finished the opening period with a 52-15 lead, holding an opponent to its lowest first-half point total of the season. The Cardinals limited Kentucky to 16 points in the first half of their 60-58 loss on December 18.

"There's not a whole lot you can say because we just overmatched them in this basketball game," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We played really strong defense in the first half and it was one of those nights where everything went right for us in the first half and nothing went right for them."

Sophomore guard Brandon Jenkins added to the Cardinals' shooting, scoring 11 of his career-high 14 points in the first half. He had three of his career-high four 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.

"We're going to play Brandon at two positions next year, the point and the shooting guard, so it's important that he develops that part (the outside shooting) of his game," Pitino said. "Brandon has improved his shooting tremendously as well." Dean finished with four 3-pointers and 13 points and O'Bannon added 11 for the Cardinals, who had more 3-pointers (9) - a season high - than the Pirates had field goals (6) in the opening 20 minutes.

Louisville, which ranks fifth in the nation with 9.3 3-pointers per game, finished 13-of-35 from the arc. The Cardinals are 13-1 this season when connecting on nine or more 3-point field goals.

Otis George scored 13 points and collected 10 rebounds and Juan Palacios chipped in a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards for Louisville, which won its fourth straight game.

Leading scorer Francisco Garcia, who was limited by three first-half fouls, finished with nine points for the Cardinals, his second straight game without breaking double figures.

Moussa Badiane was the lone player in double figures with 16 points for East Carolina (5-11, 0-5), which shot 29 percent (15-of-52) from the field, including 4-of-16 on 3-pointers.

"(Louisville) is a good team and we are a young team that is very fragile and we looked like a deer in the headlights," Pirates coach Bill Herrion said. "What was disappointing was that we have played with these guys in the past. It was a seven-point game last year in the tournament but we are not ready for this kind of basketball. They are so physical and we are finesse. Their defense smothered us."

Badiane appeared to be the only player not intimidated by the Cardinals, scoring 10 of his team's 15 in the first half. He shot 4-of-8 from the field for East Carolina while his teammates went 2-of-21.

© 2005 STATS, Inc