LOUISVILLE — Barely a week later, Louisville's three-game losing streak looks like a distant memory.
The 12th-ranked Cardinals dismantled No. 25 Marquette 70-51 in Sunday's "white out" game, played before a KFC Yum Center crowd of 21,418.
U of L, ranked No. 1 until dropping three in a row, has now won two straight.
"In just about every aspect of the game, fundamentally, we did a good job. The guys really honed in on what they do well," said Coach Rick Pitino, who donned an all-white suit. "We rebounded well in stretches. We went back door well against them. So really, really happy with our effort.
"We held them to six assists in the game, which means it's good containment with our rotating."
The Cardinals (18-4, 6-3 Big East) made 27 of 52 shots (51.9 percent) and grabbed 38 rebounds, while holding Marquette to 19-for-53 (35.8) and 26 boards.
"We did a great job of being cohesive on the defensive end and blocking the paint up, making it really tight in there," said Russ Smith, who led U of L with 18 points.
On track again, the Cards have their mojo back.
"It's just boosted our confidence back up," said Wayne Blackshear, who scored nine points. "I think everyone's just forgetting about those losses and just looking forward."
Point guard Peyton Siva, who racked up 14 points and seven assists, says the Cards like to keep things light. Yet, they know when to get serious, as happened Sunday.
"I think we did a better job of really focusing in today on our game plan," Siva said. "The game plan was to rebound and get on the break, and not let them get in transition; I don't think they had too many transition points. And I think we played a good overall game."
Although Louisville committed 16 of the game's 33 turnovers, the Cards enjoyed a 32-9 advantage in points off turnovers. They also dominated points in the paint, 42-20.
"They rebounded 11 of their 16 missed shots in the first half and they forced 12 turnovers in the second half," said Buzz Williams, whose Marquette team now shares the Big East lead with Syracuse. "That is their recipe for winning, and I thought they were really, really good in both halves."
Gorgui Dieng played a big role in the paint, totaling eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
After a slow start, U of L was sparked by Blackshear and super subs Montrezl Harrell and Stephan Van Treese.
Marquette (15-5, 6-2) bolted to a 9-1 lead.
Twelve seconds after entering the game, Harrell scored U of L's first field goal off a rebound-dunk.
"We were kind of out of sync a little bit," Harrell said. "So I just try to come out with great energy, try to help the team in different areas of the game — rebounding and blocking shots,"
Another Harrell dunk 2½ minutes later brought U of L to within 13-10.
A three-pointer by Trent Lockett gave Marquette a 16-10 edge, and the Cardinals then officially switched gears.
Smith scored nine points, Blackshear had four and Siva two as Louisville went on a 15-2 run to take a 25-18 lead.
Blackshear, who missed Monday's win over Pitt due to a sprained right shoulder, scored back-to-back baskets to forge ties at 16 and 18 — the first off a Smith steal-and-assist, the second a back-door dunk off a pass from Harrell.
That was part of a 28-8 haymaker to end the half, giving the Cards a 38-24 lead at intermission.
"We just had to get in our rhythm," Blackshear said, "and once we got in that rhythm, just went forward from there."
Van Treese, whom Pitino calls his team's best screener, finished with four points and three rebounds in 15 minutes of relief.
Vander Blue led the Golden Eagles with 17 points and five rebounds. Lockett scored 16.
No. 12 LOUISVILLE 70, No. 25 MARQUETTE 51
MARQUETTE (15-5) — Anderson 0-2 0-0 0, Otule 2-4 2-2 6, Cadougan 1-5 0-0 2, Blue 8-16 0-0 17, Lockett 4-6 7-9 16, J. Wilson 1-7 0-0 2, Mayo 1-3 0-1 3, D. Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Taylor, Jr. 1-3 1-3 3, Gardner 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 19-53 10-15 51.
LOUISVILLE (18-4) — Hancock 2-4 0-0 6, Behanan 2-5 1-2 5, Dieng 2-6 4-4 8, Smith 6-15 4-4 18, Siva 6-9 1-2 14, Ware 0-1 0-2 0, Henderson 0-0 0-0 0, Blackshear 4-5 0-0 9, Harrell 3-5 0-0 6, Van Treese 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 27-52 10-14 70.
Halftime—Louisville 38-24. Three-point goals—Marquette 3-13 (Lockett 1-1, Mayo 1-2, Blue 1-5, D. Wilson 0-1, Anderson 0-1, Cadougan 0-1, J. Wilson 0-2), Louisville 6-16 (Hancock 2-4, Smith 2-6, Blackshear 1-2, Siva 1-4). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Marquette 26 (Blue 5), Louisville 38 (Dieng 8). Assists—Marquette 6 (Anderson, Cadougan, Lockett, Otule, J. Wilson, D. Wilson 1), Louisville 17 (Siva 7). Total fouls—Marquette 14, Louisville 20. A—n/a.
Louisville at Rutgers
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com