Nov. 21, 2009
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)--Rick Pitino and the 20th-ranked Louisville Cardinals have a lot to work on.
Edgar Sosa scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half and No. 20 Louisville beat East Tennessee State 69-56 on Saturday.
The Cardinals won despite shooting just 36.4 percent, including just 6 of 30 from beyond the 3-point line. Louisville used an 18-0 run in the first half to turn a three-point deficit into a 25-10 lead.
"We took a lot of challenged shots," Pitino said.
Sosa was one of the few Louisville players to shoot well in the first half. He only missed one of his five shots, including hitting four 3-pointers. The rest of the Cardinals were just 8-for-26 before the break.
Louisville (2-0) also played most of the first half without Samardo Samuels, who committed two fouls in the first seven minutes. While he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Pitino thought the sophomore center and his teammates could have performed better on the boards. Both teams grabbed 44 rebounds, but the Buccaneers had a 30-19 edge in the second half.
"I'm not pleased with anybody rebounding the baskeball," Pitino said.
Justin Tubbs led the Buccaneers (1-3) with 18 points and Micah Williams added 12. ETSU was without senior Mike Smith, who averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds last season for the Atlantic Sun conference tournament champions.
"I'm not pleased losing, but obviously for our team it was a step up," ETSU coach Murry Bartows said.
The game served as the home opener for Louisville and the final one at Freedom Hall, Louisville's home court since 1956. Louisville, which was the last ranked team to start the season, started a stretch of three home games in as many days, as part of the Hall of Fame Showcase.
Freedom Halls lack of availability, especially early in the season, is one of the reasons why Louisville will open next season in a new arena, currently under construction in the city's downtown.