LOUISVILLE — Louisville Coach Rick Pitino wasn't looking for pretty, not from a team playing its third game in three days.
Good thing, because he didn't get it during the ninth-ranked Cardinals' 78-56 victory over Lamar on Monday night in the Marques Maybin Classic.
There were missed free throws and missed opportunities, but then again, things could be worse.
A week ago the Cardinals were smarting from an upset loss to Western Kentucky that briefly knocked them out of the top 10. Winning three games in a span of 60 hours by an average of 32 points isn't exactly bad by comparison.
"I thought we made great progress, but we still have a long way to go," Pitino said. "There is no excuse for some of our guys missing free throws ... but I still thought we brought it defensively."
Freshman Samardo Samuels scored 15 points and event MVP Earl Clark added six points, six rebounds and five assists for Louisville (5-1), which used its length to frustrate Lamar's smaller, quicker guards.
Louisville had won its previous two games in the round-robin tournament (against Ohio and Indiana State) by a combined 75 points. Things weren't so easy against Lamar, which hung around until late in the second half.
"Earl was just waking up about the 11-minute mark," Pitino said. "We got him out of his coffin."
Jay Brown had 16 points and eight rebounds and Kenny Dawkins added 14 points for Lamar (6-3), which was held to a season-low point total and shot 35 percent.
"They do a lot of things and they put a lot of pressure on you," Lamar Coach Steve Roccaforte said. "Most people don't play more than eight or nine guys and they keep running guys at you, pressing and running. It makes it very tough."
Kentucky beat Lamar 103-61 earlier this season. UK plays at Louisville on Jan. 4.
Ohio 62, Indiana St. 50: Steven Coleman scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half to lead Ohio in the first Maybin Classic game on Monday.
Jerome Tillman led the Bobcats (4-3) with 18 points and 16 rebounds and Justin Orr added 15 points for Ohio, which took control in the second half.
Aaron Carter and Jay Tunnell paced Indiana State (1-7) with 20 points each, but the Sycamores shot just 29 percent in the second half.