Dec. 5, 2009
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)--Derrio Green had a career-high 20 points to lead Charlotte past No. 20 Louisville 87-65 on Saturday night, the Cardinals' worst home loss under coach Rick Pitino.
Freshman forward Chris Braswell added 21 points and 14 rebounds while Shamarr Bowden had 17 points for 49ers (6-1).
Samardo Samuels led Louisville (5-2) with 14 points and Mike Marra scored 11, but the Cardinals struggled to keep up with the hot-shooting 49ers while playing without injured guards Jerry Smith, Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles.
Charlotte made 10 of 24 3-pointers, outrebounded Louisville 49-35 and had little trouble holding off a pair of mild second-half surges by the Cardinals.
The win was Charlotte's first over a ranked team since knocking off Xavier last season and Louisville's worst home defeat since losing to the 49ers by 34 in February, 2001, back when both teams were in Conference USA.
That defeat came in Denny Crum's final year on the sidelines for the Cardinals. Pitino took over shortly thereafter and has turned the program into a Big East power.
Louisville didn't look like one, however, against the 49ers. With Siva and Smith watching from the bench in street clothes and Knowles available only in case of emergency, the Cardinals struggled to defend the perimeter.
Green and Bowden made them pay for it. The duo combined to make 9 of 20 3-pointers, including a couple in the second half that turned back Louisville's last real push.
By then Pitino had run out of timeouts and out of patience.
Forced to experiment liberally with his lineups because of the injuries, he couldn't seem to find a combination that would make the Cardinals effective on both ends of the floor.
Considering the way Green and company where shooting, it might not have mattered if Smith, Siva and Knowles had played.
Charlotte wasted little time getting going as Green knocked down three straight 3-pointers in the opening minutes to give the 49ers a quick 17-6 lead.
Pitino said before the game he was concerned about slowing down Charlotte star Sharami Spears, but the junior forward was held to nine points, 12 under his average coming in--and nine rebounds.
Instead it was the play of Charlotte's backcourt that slowed the Cardinals.
Charlotte frustrated Samuels on the inside and Louisville couldn't match the 49ers shot for shot on the outside. Charlotte took a 47-32 lead into the half as Green buried another deep 3-pointer just before the buzzer, turning to the crowd and making the "3-point sign" as he raced back down the floor.