Ole Miss Drops Hard-Fought Game 77-68 To No. 9 Louisville

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CINCINNATI (AP)- David Huertas scored 20 points and Chris Warren added 18, but Ole Miss dropped a tightly contested matchup with No. 9 Louisville by a 77-68 margin in the final game of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational Thursday night.

Earl Clark had career highs of 25 points and 16 rebounds and Samardo Samuels added nine points and 13 rebounds as the Cardinals (7-1) won their fifth straight.

The Rebels (7-4) trailed by 18 points but kept chipping away and tied the game at 67 on a 3-pointer by Warren with 5:26 remaining.

It would be Ole Miss' last field goal as Louisville closed the game with a 10-1 run. Clark started it with a layup and Edgar Sosa followed with a 3-pointer and Louisville's defense - ranked fifth in the nation in points allowed - made it hold up.

Louisville's six previous wins had come inside the comfy atmosphere and friendly rims at Freedom Hall.

Things weren't quite so easy at U.S. Bank Arena for the second game of the doubleheader between teams from the Big East and Southeastern conferences. The Cardinals were 1-5 in their last six regular season neutral-site games and seemed on the brink of making it 1-6 after the Rebels took a 63-62 lead on a tip-in by DeAundre Cranston with 7:31 to play.

The Cardinals gathered themselves and harassed Huertas and Warren into rushed shots, allowing Louisville to escape.

Louisville's win, combined with Cincinnati's victory over Mississippi State in the early game, earned the Big East a 2-2 split in the four-game invitational. Vanderbilt beat South Florida and No. 16 Tennessee knocked off No. 24 Marquette in Nashville on Tuesday.

The Cardinals built a 32-14 lead behind Clark, who did whatever he wanted. He scored 10 of Louisville's first 12 points and tied his season high of 17 on a nifty layup before the game was 8 minutes old, playing with the kind of energy coach Rick Pitino wishes would come more often from his sometimes sleepy star.

Ole Miss, however, steadied itself and fought back as Clark and the Cardinals cooled. The Rebels ended the half with a 16-3 flurry capped by a 26-footer from Warren, who shot it over two defenders at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 38-34.


 

 

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