LOUISVILLE — The Louisville Cardinals practically turned the KFC Yum Center into a Dunking Donuts Monday night.
Gorgui Dieng threw down five of the Cardinals' seven dunks in an 80-59 thrashing of Big East rival Connecticut.
Leading 29-24 at halftime, U of L played a torrid second half, scoring 51 points and leading by as many as 30.
"That was a tremendous display of passing and fast-breaking and defense, the likes of which I haven't seen too much," Coach Rick Pitino said of his 24th-ranked team (19-5, 7-4 Big East).
Early in the day, there was speculation whether Dieng, the 6-foot-11 sophomore from Senegal, would even play. He sprained an ankle during Saturday's win over Rutgers.
He did, netting 15 points, six rebounds and six of his team's 10 steals.
"No matter (what), I was going to play," Dieng said.
Chris Smith led U of L's scoring with 16 points, hitting four shots from three-point range — where the Cards outscored the Huskies 33-9 on a season-high 11 three-pointers.
Kyle Kuric had 10 points and nine rebounds. Chane Behanan and Peyton Siva had seven points each, Behanan leading all rebounders with 12 and Siva topping the assist column with nine.
U of L has won five games in a row and six of seven.
Beating the Huskies for the fifth time in six games, the Cards lead the rivalry 7-6.
UConn (15-8, 5-6) was directed for a second game in a row by associate coach George Blaney. Hall of Fame head man Jim Calhoun is on a leave of absence to deal with worsening spinal stenosis, a lower back condition.
The Huskies led only briefly in the first half.
UConn's Jeremy Lamb, fifth in the Big East with a 17.6 scoring average, was blanked in the first half. So was Andre Drummond, who came in with a 10.2 average.
"The problem was we were turning the ball over a little too much," Pitino said, "and we weren't getting the fruits of playing great defense.
"The second half, we did. We didn't turn it over much, we rebounded terrific, played very aggressive. I think the passing was phenomenal. The unselfishness of the passing was incredible. With the exception of Angel Nunez."
Pitino drew laughs for needling Nunez, who fired in two three-point shots — the first of which was banked in — in five minutes of mop-up duty.
Behanan scored the first five points of the second half to push U of L's lead to 10 points, 34-24.
The margin was 44-32 with under 11 minutes left.
U of L went on a 9-0 run — its 24th run of at least eight points in a game this season — to lead 53-32.
Siva fed Jared Swopshire for a layup, then drained a three and again fed Swopshire for a fast-break dunk.
Dieng grabbed his own rebound and dunked.
"It was good," Dieng said. "When you get a stop, you won't get tired. You just keep going. We kept getting stops and passing the ball very well."
After Lamb finally stemmed the run with a basket, Swopshire nailed a three. Then Siva found Kuric for another fast-break dunk.
The Huskies called for time, and Behanan rushed to bear-hug Siva and lift the point guard toward the bench.
"It really just comes down to scouting and practice," Siva said. "Everybody was in tune this week and everybody really paid attention.
"It was fun. Everything was going right for us."
UConn, losing for the fifth time in six games, was led by Ryan Boatright with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Alex Oriakhi totaled 11 points and seven boards, and Roscoe Smith scored 10. Lamb finished with seven, while Drummond did not score.
"One of the things about this league is that you don't want to play teams when they're on an uptick, and Louisville is really on an uptick," Blaney said.