University of Louisville

Louisville rides 24-2 start to rout of Seton Hall

Louisville's Preston Knowles (2) was fouled by Seton Hall's Jeff Robinson as he drove to the basket in the first half. Knowles scored eight points for the Cards. Robinson had 14.
Louisville's Preston Knowles (2) was fouled by Seton Hall's Jeff Robinson as he drove to the basket in the first half. Knowles scored eight points for the Cards. Robinson had 14. Chris Hall

LOUISVILLE — Last week's loss to Kentucky may as well have been (and was) last year for Louisville.

Coming off a 78-63 New Year's Eve loss to archrival UK, the Cardinals opened Big East play Wednesday by spanking Seton Hall, 73-54, before a KFC Yum Center crowd of 21,912.

U of L scored the first 10 points and led 24-2 midway through the first half.

"The UK game was a devastating loss, but we didn't let that dwell on us," said senior guard Preston Knowles, who finished with eight points, matched his career-high of nine rebounds and notched a season-high five assists. "If we would have still had that in the back of our minds, we would have lost tonight."

Rick Pitino, in besting his former assistant Kevin Willard, mixed up his lineup.

George Goode, a 6-foot-8 freshman who didn't even play against UK, got a start and scored U of L's first four points. He wound up with six points and three rebounds over 10 minutes.

Stephan Van Treese, who played one minute against UK, came off the bench to log 27 minutes. He led the Cards with a career-high 10 rebounds and added four points on 2-for-3 shooting.

"We made up our mind, just because of these injuries, we're not going to deviate from what we're trying to do," said Pitino, who has been without Jared Swopshire all season and now is minus Rakeem Buckles and Elisha Justice because of injuries. "We're going to just play the other guys."

Louisville (12-2) was paced by point guard Peyton Siva and reserve forward Mike Marra with 14 points each.

Gorgui Dieng, a 6-10 freshman from Senegal, used his 7-4 wing span to block five shots and grab six rebounds to go along with his nine points.

Pitino said rebounding was what he most wanted to see from his team, and he got it in a 46-35 advantage on the glass. Pitino noted that Van Treese should have had 18, rather than 10.

"He's right, though," Van Treese said. "I had a couple that I fumbled. I really just need to snag them."

Fuquan Edward had 18 points and nine boards to lead Seton Hall (7-8, 1-2). Jeff Robinson added 14 points.

The Pirates missed their first nine shots. They finished 18-for-62 (29 percent).

U of L made 12 of its first 16 and finished 29-for-61 (47.5 percent).

"We got off to a great start," Pitino said, "and then a lot of good things happen for you defensively when you get off to a start like that."

Goode started the party with back-to-back jumpers from near the free-throw line.

Getting to start was "kind of shocking," he said, "but it's just the fact of being prepared whenever. So it wasn't that big of an adjustment for me."

Eight Cards scored as they jumped to a 24-2 lead. Siva led the way with a steal-and-dunk, driving layup and a three-pointer.

"We knew coming in after the Kentucky game that they would be ready to go, and they did a good job at jumping on us and taking advantage of mistakes we made," said Willard, who served 2001-07 under Pitino and whose father, Ralph, is U of L's director of basketball operations. "It's tough to come back when you're down 24-2."

Pitino urged his team to be relentless.

"Like 'Coach P' says, it's really hard to play with a lead," Marra said. "So you really just have to kind of try to almost pretend like you're not winning and just play it like it's zero-zero, and just keep playing hard."

Seton Hall pulled to within 12 points late in the half, but trailed 36-21 at intermission.

A 20-7 start to the second half saw U of L double the Pirates' score, 56-28.

Seton Hall scored the next 10 points but came no closer than 17, 62-45.

U of L's bench, averaging 29.3 points a game, outscored the Hall's reserves 29-5.