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02/23/2013 9:19 PM EST
No. 10 Louisville downs Seton Hall 79-61
LOUISVILLE 79, SETON HALL 61

By GARY GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Gorgui Dieng liked every aspect of his
jump shot on Saturday, from how the ball felt in his hands to
his release.



That was clear from the number the 6-foot-10 Louisville center
took against Seton Hall, to say nothing of his range. Dieng
scored a career-high 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting to help the
No. 10 Cardinals pull away from Seton Hall for a 79-61 victory.



Seven of his Dieng's baskets were medium range, catching the
Pirates off guard. The shot itself was nothing new, but he
needed to take it more often. At the urging of Louisville coach
Rick Pitino, he did it frequently.



"To be honest with you, I was very frustrated because I worked
so hard in the summer to get that shot," said Dieng, who also
grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. "I started
making it at the beginning of the season, then I broke my (left)
wrist. I came back and I was missing it, kept missing it.



"Coach told me, `I know you can make it, don't worry about it.
If you miss it, you miss it. If you make it keep playing. One
shot in the game isn't going to change the game. So today, I was
wide open. I just shot it."



Russ Smith added 19 points and Luke Hancock made three
3-pointers and finished with 13 points as the Cardinals (22-5,
10-4) won their third straight to move into a three-way tie for
second place in the Big East with Syracuse and Marquette - both
of which lost Saturday - and a game behind first-place
Georgetown, which beat Syracuse.



Against Seton Hall, Louisville wanted to firm up its game ahead
of an important stretch run including next week's showdown at
No. 8 Syracuse. The Cardinals succeeded on just about every
count, forcing 21 turnovers including 12 steals and shooting 26
of 57 (45.6 percent) in sweeping the season series.



Their total included 7 of 15 from 3-point range, but the main
topic afterward was Dieng's confidence with his shooting and the
way it could benefit Louisville down the road.



"It opens up the floor in a way that you really can't describe,"
Smith said. "They have to come out. I can slash and get some
easy layups off Gorgui's man. He's going to knock it down every
time. That's Gorgui's shot. When I go one on one, I tell him to
shoot that shot, even when he's in the post. When he goes over
that right shoulder he's always going to knock that down."



Aaron Cosby scored 14 second-half points for 17 to lead Seton
Hall (13-15, 2-13), which dropped its ninth straight.



Eugene Teague added 16 points, Brian Oliver 12 and Fuquan Edwin
11 for the Pirates, who shot 23 of 52 (44 percent).



Louisville's offensive effort followed Pitino's recent practice
shift toward players working on their respective strengths.
Dieng, for example, has focused on shooting jumpers, which has
been effective for him when used.



The individualized effort clearly benefited Dieng, who sank two
jumpers from the foul line along with a tip-in to give
Louisville an 8-2 lead. Oliver, Cosby, Edwin and Karlis Haralds
combined for four jumpers including three from beyond the arc,
keying Seton Hall's 17-9 spurt to put them up by two.



Seton Hall's zone defense also stifled Louisville during that
run, no doubt due to coach Kevin Willard's familiarity with
Pitino's system as a former Cardinals assistant.



Louisville snapped out of it and took over from there, closing
the half with a 23-7 run over the final 9:40 of the half for a
40-26 lead at the break. Four 3-pointers helped - notable for a
team hitting just 32 percent from beyond the arc coming in -
while Dieng added a couple more soft jumpers en route to a
10-point half.



"I knew he was good, but tonight he was just automatic from
mid-range," Teague said of Dieng. "The kid didn't miss."



The Cardinals made five of seven from long range and 13 of 28
overall from the field (46 percent), while their signature
defense made seven steals and forced 11 turnovers leading to 10
points. Seton Hall hit just 10 of 26 field goal attempts.



Injuries have plagued the Pirates, with Brandon Mobley's
season-ending shoulder surgery being the most recent. And that
lack of depth became a factor as they fell behind by 19 several
times in the second half.



"That's the tough thing for us. We get out of gas quickly,"
Willard said. "That's been our issue. We have to battle so hard
to stay in it because we're not playing with a power forward and
we only have one guard substitute. I'm really happy with the way
the guys are still fighting out there."

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