Cards continue without Stone

By LINDA YOUNKIN State Journal Sports Writer Published:

LOUISVILLE - Everyone knows Louisville's basketball team will be playing today. The question is, will Marvin Stone play?

The third-seeded Cardinals won their Conference USA tournament opener Thursday, beating Tulane 82-66 at Freedom Hall.

They did that without Stone, their senior center who sat out for the second straight game pending an NCAA investigation into alleged eligibility issues.

The victory puts Louisville into today's first semifinal game against Memphis, a 62-56 winner over South Florida Thursday.

"We're excited about winning," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "We were emotionally taken out of our game early. We didn't know until we were ready to go that Marvin wasn't going to play. He was already dressed. That sucked the emotion out of our guys. They were dejected about it, and there's nothing we can do about it."

"I think some of the younger guys were looking forward to Marvin playing," Louisville guard Reece Gaines said. "I was expecting the worst, so I was expecting him not to play."

When Stone will return to play is unsure, and Pitino had little to say about the situation, for now.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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