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01/09/2013 10:20 PM EST
Dieng leads No. 3 Louisville over Seton Hall 73-58
LOUISVILLE 73, SETON HALL 58

By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A couple more pieces fell into place for No.
3 Louisville against Seton Hall.



Talented center Gorgui Dieng impressed once again in only his
third game back from a broken left wrist and coach Rick Pitino
finally saw his Cardinals play defense the way he liked.



Dieng had 16 points and 14 rebounds - both season highs - and
Louisville (14-1, 2-0 Big East) won its ninth straight game,
73-58 over Seton Hall on Wednesday night.



What made the win so impressive was that Louisville won despite
getting a combined 18 points on 4-of-17 shooting from guards
Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, their top two scorers.



"This is a team game and we have a lot of guys who can score,"
said Siva, who finished with seven points. "It's definitely a
good sign that we can win, because me and Russ didn't shoot it
well. Everyone else stepped up big and were digging in. It's a
really good sign for us. Everyone was playing together and we
utilized everyone."



Freshman Montrezl Harrell, starting in place of injured Chane
Behanan, tied his career best with 14 points, and Luke Hancock
hit two 3-pointers in a late, game-breaking 12-2 run.



"I think we're a very good offensive basketball team, but we
needed to get better defensively," Pitino said. "We hadn't
played well defensively until the second half tonight. We played
excellent defense in the second half. We generated steals and
got on the break a little. When you play a good team, you need
maybe one good run. We got that in the second half. That was our
run and we made the most of it."



Brandon Mobley had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Pirates
(12-4, 1-2), who lost their second straight. Eugene Teague added
14 points and 10 rebounds, while leading scorer Fuquan Edwin was
limited to 13 - most coming after the game was decided.



"They really did a good job focusing on me not getting any open
looks," said Edwin, who came in averaging nearly 18 points.
"They got out on me pretty fast. It's a little frustrating,
because I wasn't making plays for my teammates and I have to
take the blame for that."



It was the second straight double-double for Dieng, who only
returned to the lineup Dec. 29 after breaking his wrist against
Missouri. The junior from Senegal also had three blocks. His
previous season highs were 11 points and 13 rebounds.



"I'm beginning to feel good about the way I'm playing," Dieng
said. "Coach tells me that he needs me to get back and do the
things I used to do. I was able to get a lot of touches inside
and I made the shots. I still think I need to get back to
blocking four or five shots a game. That's what I need to get,
then I'll think I'm back."



The Cardinals struggled in their final Big East game at the
Prudential Center, and didn't put the Pirates away until midway
through the second half.



Trailing 42-35 after a tip follow by Harrell, Seton Hall scored
the next seven points to tie the game. Edwin hit a 3-pointer to
knot it, finally getting the disappointing crowd into the game.



The excitement didn't last long. Harrell had an alley-oop layin,
Smith scored on a fastbreak and Hancock sandwiched two
sweet-looking 3-pointers around a layup by Mobley for a 52-44
lead.



Stephan Van Treese added two free throws to push the advantage
to 10 points and Louisville was never threatened again.



Pitino seemed at a loss to explain why Smith and Siva struggled,
especially Smith, a New York City native who was averaging 20
points.



"That's possible every night with Russ Smith, because he's crazy
and out of his mind and insane," Pitino said. "If I had to vote
for the Naismith Player of the Year right now, I'd vote for Russ
Smith. But tonight, he had too much pressure on him. Every time
he comes home, he puts so much pressure on himself and loses his
mind."



Louisville had 12 steals and forced 16 turnovers, while limiting
the Pirates to 34.7 percent shooting from the field (17 of 49).
The Cardinals struggled themselves, hitting 23 of 55, or roughly
42 percent from the floor.



Behanan, who was averaging 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds,
sprained his left ankle in practice Monday and is expected to be
sidelined up to 10 days.



Seton Hall got what it wanted in the first half, forcing the
Cardinals into a half-court game and limiting them pretty much
to one shot a possession. It kept the game close and the Pirates
used a late 8-2 spurt to get to within 36-34 at the half.



Pitino wasn't happy with the officiating at the end of the half
after seeing the Pirates make 14 of 21 free throws. The
Cardinals only took 12 free throws, making nine.



Junior forward Brian Oliver (8.5 ppg) missed his third straight
game with a sprained ankle.

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