Saturday, March 06, 1999

U of L whips UAB; enough for NCAA?




The Associated Press

        BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Nate Johnson scored 18 points Friday night and Louisville may have played its way into the NCAA Tournament with a 77-68 win over Alabama-Birmingham in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament.

        The second-seeded Cardinals (19-9) only became eligible for postseason play on Feb. 5. Once the ban was lifted, they played won eight of their last 10 games.

        Now they'll play North Carolina Charlotte (21-10) in today's final, where the winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

        UAB (20-11), the third seed, left its fate in the hands of the NCAA committee. The Blazers won 20 games a year ago, but were bypassed for the tournament and ended up in the NIT.

        Louisville led by as many as 11 three times in the second half, but allowed the Blazers to pull within three, at 59-56, with 9:00 to go. Eric Holmes hit his only three-pointer of the night, Antonio Jackson made a free throw and DeWayne Brown scored on a layup to put UAB back in the game.

        The Cardinals answered the threat with a 7-0 run, behind five straight points from Alex Sanders, to make it 66-56.

       



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