LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Freshman Chane Behanan hit his first 10
shots on the way to a career-high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds
and Louisville (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) beat Rutgers 78-66 on Saturday for its fourth
straight Big East victory.
Behanan finished 11 of 12 from the field, only missing a 3-point
attempt in the corner near the midway point of the second half as
Louisville (18-5, 6-4) has put its 2-4 start to league play firmly
in its past.
Rutgers (12-12, 4-7) only led once by a point early and
frustration mounted late in the first half when coach Mike Rice was
ejected for arguing with officials. Still, the Scarlet Knights only
trailed 53-50 midway through the second before Louisville used a
12-0 run to put the game away.
Freshman Eli Carter led Rutgers with 24 points.
Louisville, which has lost eight players for at least one game
due to injury, had another scare after Gorgui Dieng fell to the
court with just under 15 minutes to play, clutching his right knee.
Dieng went to the bench where Cardinals trainer Fred Hina
re-wrapped Dieng's right ankle.
Dieng hobbled into the concourse, but when he came back to the
floor he immediately checked into the game at the 12:21 mark
shortly after Carter hit a 3-pointer to cut Louisville's lead to
The Cardinals answered.
Behanan dunked over Gilvydas Biruta, Siva converted a
three-point play, Behanan had a putback, Siva drove hard for a
layup and Kuric hit a 3-pointer in the left corner that made it
65-50 with 8:20 left.
Myles Mack's 3-pointer with 1:18 left cut to 73-64, but Chris
Smith hit two free throws and the Scarlet Knights never got closer.
Louisville has won six straight in the series and improved to
30-6 in February since 2007.
Rutgers, which plays five of seven on the road this month, led
12-11 early in the half before Louisville used a 10-0 run to take a
21-12 lead. With Rutgers trailing 36-30 with 2½ minutes remaining
in the first half, Rice was ejected after he was upset a foul
wasn't called on the prior possession.
Rice folded his arms across his chest to avoid making contact
with the officials while screaming his case, then made a choke sign
at referee Evon Burroughs as he walked toward the Scarlet Knights'
locker room. It was the first ejection of Rice's two-year tenure.
Associate head coach David Cox took over, and the Scarlet
Knights trailed 41-36 at halftime.
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Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.