Louisville 78, Rutgers 66

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 04, 2012
Freshman Chane Behanan hit his first 10 shots on the way to a career-high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds and Louisville 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. Kyle Kuric scored 14 points, Russ Smith added 11 of his 12 points in the first half and Peyton Siva had 10 for Louisville, while Chris Smith added a career-high 13 rebounds. 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 53-50. 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 2 1/2 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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