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Updated: Friday, March 25, 2005 2:05 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(4) Louisville 93, (1) Washington 79

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean's deep shooting kept Louisville red-hot.

Garcia and Dean both made five 3-pointers as the fourth-seeded Cardinals toppled No. 1 Washington, 93-79, in a regional-semifinal matchup of two of the top six scoring teams in the nation.

Louisville will face No. 7 West Virginia for a trip to St. Louis on Saturday while Washington became the first No. 1 seed to be eliminated.

For Cardinals coach Rick Pitino a win on Saturday would seal his fifth trip to the Final Four in 18 years since he guided an underdog Providence team to New Orleans in 1987.

"I think Providence and this team have been the two most rewarding experiences of my coaching life because of all the adversity we've had to go through from day one," said Pitino about having two recruits, Sebastian Telfair and Donta Smith, skip school for the NBA and losing freshman forward Brian Johnson to a knee injury in fall practice. "So that is the great thing with college basketball. There are so many rewards outside of the actual win."

Entering the Sweet 16 with 20 victories in its last 21 games, Louisville (32-4) was able to continue its quest towards its first Final Four in 19 years behind outstanding shooting from the arc. The Cardinals made 11-of-26 3-pointers to improve to 19-0 this season when making 10 or more shots from the arc.

Dean started strong, making his first two 3-pointers for an 8-4 lead in the opening 2:39, but Washington responded with a man-to-man defense that limited Louisville's looks. The Huskies stormed ahead, 23-16, over the next eight minutes, but paid a price for their aggressive defense with numerous fouls.

After leading scorer and tempo-setter, Nate Robinson, picked up his third foul trying to deny Garcia position inside with 8:51 to play and had to sit, the Cardinals caught fire, going on a 31-12 run over the rest of the first half to take a 47-35 lead at the break.

"We had been in that position before, where Nate had picked up a foul and we had played him," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "For periods of time, our guys have done a great job compensating for someone who is out with foul trouble. Nate is obviously an emotional leader. When he went down, it coincided with them going on a run."

The Huskies (29-6) set a pair of dubious firsts in the opening 20 minutes, surrendering their highest first-half total while also facing their biggest halftime deficit of the year. Washington fell to 3-4 when trailing at intermission.

Garcia was the key figure behind the first-half spurt, making three 3-pointers during the run. After Washington switched to a zone clinging to a 32-31 lead with 3:38 to play, Garcia made consecutive 3-pointers over the next minute to put the Cardinals ahead, 37-32. He also drove and found Perrin Johnson for a three-point play and a 42-32 lead with 1:48 left.

"I think it went to us all," said Garcia about the game-opening run. "I saw a couple of openings (early) but I didn't shoot the ball and coach said when I am open to shoot the ball. I took a couple of easy shots and I just made them."

Louisville pushed the lead to 59-45 on a 3-pointer by Garcia with 15:32 remaining in the second half, but Washington, the nation's second-ranked scoring team in the nation at 86.7 points per game, closed within 67-61 on a layup by Hakeem Rollins with 8:41 to play.

Garcia responded less than two minutes later with his final 3-pointer and Larry O'Bannon added five straight points to restore the lead to 83-70 with 3:31 to play.

Garcia, who will be foregoing his senior season to enter the NBA Draft this summer, scored 23 points, shooting 5-of-8 from the arc. Dean, who made five of his 10 3-pointers, added 19 and nine rebounds.

O'Bannon scored 18 points, Juan Palacios 14 and Ellis Myles chipped in eight, 13 rebounds and six assists for the Cardinals, who shot 55 percent (31-of-56) and beat the Huskies on the boards, 44-33.

Plagued by a combined eight fouls, Robinson and Tre Simmons, the Huskies' top two scorers, were held to 18 points on 4-of-13 shooting, well below their combined average of 32. Simmons, who also was hampered by three fouls in the first half, picked up his fourth with 12 minutes remaining and tied a season-low with 19 minutes played.

"Well, one of the things you've got to do is break down every game they play," Pitino said. "I think when they played Oregon they fouled 50-some times in the game. One of the things we wanted to do was create motion, drive it. We usually work the post inside to out and do things they don't let you do. We wanted to drive it and try and go to the foul line or get the dishes and get our guys going from an offensive standpoint."

Washington, which finished with 25 fouls, was able to stay close in the contest behind the play of reserves Jamaal Williams and Brandon Roy. Williams scored 18 points and Roy had 11 of his 15 in the first half as the Huskies' bench outscored the Cardinals by a 37-11 margin.

"Tonight they just did a better job going inside out than we did," Roy said. "Jamaal did a really good job inside. I think I did a pretty good job, but we didn't get those threes that we normally get. They did a really good job of scoring in the post and from 3-point range."

Will Conroy added 14 points and eight assists for Washington, which shot 24 percent (6-of-25) on 3-pointers and 61 percent (17-of-28) at the stripe.


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