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Dean hits five 3-pointers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A bout with mononucleosis hasn't affected
Taquan Dean's shooting touch.

Louisville's star guard hit five 3-pointers for 15 points Sunday
night and the No. 12 Cardinals put together their best offensive
performance in weeks, beating Saint Louis 84-66.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Friday that Dean has been
battling mono, a virus that weakens the immune system. Dean missed
three practices this week and struggled through a workout on
Saturday.

"I tried to shoot. I didn't have any energy," Dean said.

As bad as he felt, Dean never considered sitting out Sunday's
game.

"The only way someone could stop me from playing was if someone
cut off my arms and legs," he said.

Last season, Dean tore an abdominal muscle in January and was
never the same. Neither were the Cardinals, who dropped 9 of their
last 13 games.

Dean had offseason surgery and said the painstaking
rehabilitation from that will help him play through his current
sickness.

"Mentally, I'm stronger," he said. "I know I can deal with
this. I just need to get into the weight room, get stronger and get
rest."

Dean had only three points at halftime, then found his range as
Louisville opened the second half with a 21-6 run.

Louisville shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc at the start of the
second half, finally finding the offensive rhythm that was missing
in its last two home games. Dean's 3 from the corner with 12:26
left put the Cardinals up 57-40.

Francisco Garcia, Dean's best friend, was astonished by his
roommate's performance.

"It was impressive," said Garcia, who scored 13. "I don't
know how he did it. It's just amazing."

Larry O'Bannon scored 17 and Ellis Myles finished with 13 points
and 18 rebounds for the Cardinals (23-4, 11-2 Conference USA), who
finished with their highest point total since a 105-69 win over
Tulane on Jan. 29.

Louisville shot 30-for-61 for 49.2 percent, its highest percent
since converting 53 percent in a 99-52 win over Marquette on Jan.
26.

The Cardinals shot 13-for-29 from 3-point range (45 percent),
their best effort beyond the arc since going 17-for-30 against
Marquette.

"I thought if we shot a good percentage, we'd be able to wear
them down a little bit," Pitino said.

Izik Ohanon scored 18 points to lead Saint Louis (7-18, 4-8),
which lost Coach Brad Soderberg to a first-half ejection.

The Cardinals had shot 35 percent in their last two home games,
and they struggled offensively early Sunday.

Louisville trailed by four after missing 8 of its first 11 shots
and making four turnovers in the opening six minutes.

The Cardinals started 1-for-8 from 3-point range, before Garcia
made one from the corner with 5:05 left in the first half.

On Louisville's next possession, Soderberg screamed at referee
Curtis Shaw for not calling Myles for traveling. Garcia hit another
3-pointer, giving Louisville its first lead at 24-22, and Soderberg
continued his rant, drawing a technical from Shaw.

Referee Steve Welmer then faced off with Soderberg, who was
restrained by assistants. When Welmer walked away, Soderberg
angrily punched the air and Shaw gave him another technical,
ejecting him.

"I want to publicly apologize to my players, my staff and our
fans for the display I put on," Soderberg said. "I take full
responsibility for it. I just shouldn't have done it."

Garcia sank the four resulting free throws to give the Cardinals
a six-point edge.

The lead reached eight points, but the Billikens finished the
half with a 9-3 burst to trail only 36-34 at the break.

Pitino ripped his players at halftime and the Cardinals came out
with renewed intensity, scrambling for loose balls and speeding up
the game by forcing turnovers.

The Billikens shot 37 percent in the second half after shooting
62 percent in the first.

"Coach got on us at halftime and we got after it in the second
half," Myles said. "We just needed to play better fundamental
defense."

Louisville won for the 12th time in 13 games. Saint Louis lost
for the sixth time in seven conference games.