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Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Francisco Garcia's brother killed

Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville sophomore Francisco Garcia, playing the day after learning his brother had been killed in a shooting, matched his career-high with 24 points in an 80-71 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night.

Garcia stood before the game with his head bowed and eyes closed as the capacity crowd at Freedom Hall honored his brother with a moment of silence.

Garcia learned Tuesday that his brother, Hector Lopez, had been fatally shot the previous night in the Bronx, N.Y., where Garcia's family moved six years ago from the Dominican Republic.

Garcia played with red sneakers that had "R.I.P. Hector" written on the sides in black marker.

Garcia raised his arms and applauded the fans as the game's final seconds ticked away. Seton Hall point guard Andre Barrett embraced Garcia after the final buzzer sounded.

Garcia was unavailable for comment after the game.

"I don't know how he put on a uniform tonight," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. "For him to play was just incredible."

Police responded to a call of a male shot in the lobby of an apartment building at 11:12 p.m. EST on Monday.

Officers discovered a man unconscious with gunshot wounds to his chest and neck, police said. He was taken to Lincoln Hospital, where he died at 11:27 p.m.

The man was identified as Lopez on Tuesday. Police have made no arrests.

Despite the tragedy, Garcia told Pitino he wanted to play on Wednesday.

Garcia, Louisville's leading scorer, was one of the first players on the court for pre-game warmups.

Following the moment of silence, Louisville sophomore Taquan Dean, Garcia's best friend on the team, embraced him and whispered in his ear.

"I've known him for the last two or three years," Dean said. "It hurt him, and it hurt me as well."

Louisville sports information director Kenny Klein said Garcia planned to travel to New York City on Thursday.

Klein said Garcia wanted to return in time to play in the Cardinals' home game against No. 1 Florida on Saturday.