March 13, 2009

Louisville rallies in Big East semifinals

Earl Clark scored 17 points Friday and fifth-ranked Louisville overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat Villanova 69-55 in the Big East semifinals.

Louisville (27-5) will face either Syracuse or West Virginia in Saturday's title game. Syracuse was playing 24 hours after outlasting Connecticut in a classic six-overtime quarterfinal battle.

Jerry Smith added 16 points for Louisville and Terrence Williams contributed 11 rebounds.

Villanova (26-7), which was coming off a last-second 76-75 triumph over Marquette Thursday, got 14 points each from Dante Cunningham and Corey Fisher.

The Wildcats took a 34-26 lead at halftime, but Louisville put together a 17-2 run to open the second period. The surge was ignited by 3-pointers from Clark, Andre McGee and Smith.

Louisville made 13-of-28 shots from 3-point range and held the Wildcats to a 34 percent shooting effort from the floor.