Sunday, January 11, 2004

Cardinals more than weary Bulls can handle

Louisville 85, S. Florida 40

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Rick Pitino was apologetic. No. 10 Louisville caught South Florida shorthanded Saturday, and no matter whom the coach put on the floor, the Cardinals kept scoring and playing stifling defense in an 85-40 Conference USA rout.

"It is frustrating," said Pitino, recalling that he has been on the other side of some lopsided scores in his career. "There's not much you can do because the subs I'm putting in the game on our basketball team, with the exception of maybe the top two guys, are just as good as the guys on the court."

Taquan Dean scored 16 points and Francisco Garcia had 15 to pace a balanced attack and lead Louisville (11-1, 2-0) to its 11th straight victory. The Cardinals have won their first two conference games by an average of 39.5 points and haven't lost since dropping their season opener.

"Louisville is an outstanding team. We knew that," said Robert McCullum, South Florida's first-year coach.

South Florida (6-6, 0-1) played without guard Marlyn Bryant, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice this week and narrowly missed setting school records for largest margin of defeat and fewest points in a game.

The Bulls shot just 26.5 percent and turned over the ball 22 times. Jimmy Baxter's 3-pointer in the final minute ensured his team would finish with more than the 36 points South Florida scored in a 35-point loss to Marquette in February 1997.

"I think we played as bad basketball as I've seen at South Florida," said Baxter, a senior.

Pitino said Louisville simply had too much firepower.

"The worst type of team to play when you're shorthanded is a team that plays 11 people and is deep and presses. So we weren't the ideal opponent for a team that has injuries and is banged up," Pitino said.

South Florida, playing its conference opener after an 11-day layoff, missed 15 of it first 20 shots and trailed 40-15 before Louisville began the second half with a 20-4 run that put the Cardinals up 60-19 with just under 16 minutes to go. The Bulls lost to Syracuse by 46 points in December 1987. Bradley Mosley's free throws in the closing seconds enabled South Florida to avoid that mark.

Louisville shot 51 percent (31-for-61) and made 10 3-pointers.

LOUISVILLE (11-1)-Garcia 5-11 4-5 15, O'Bannon 5-6 0-0 14, Dartez 3-6 0-0 6, Dean 6-7 0-1 16, Whitehead 5-7 1-3 11, Tinch 0-1 3-4 3, Diakite 1-3 0-0 2, Jenkins 2-3 0-0 4, Gianiny 1-4 2-2 4, Mohammed 1-2 0-0 2, Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Current 0-0 0-0 0, Daniels 2-6 0-0 5, George 0-3 3-4 3. Totals 31-61 13-19 85.

SOUTH FLORIDA (6-6)-Leather 1-9 2-4 4, Baxter 2-7 2-3 7, Morris 0-1 0-0 0, Swift 3-8 0-0 7, Mosley 2-10 4-7 8, Brigman 2-5 0-1 4, Barber 2-5 3-5 7, Darling 1-3 0-0 3, Diarra 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-49 11-20 40.

Halftime-Louisville 40-15. 3-Point goals-Louisville 10-25 (O'Bannon 4-5, Dean 4-5, Daniels 1-4, Garcia 1-5, Tinch 0-1, Jenkins 0-1, Mohammed 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Gianiny 0-2), South Florida 3-16 (Darling 1-3, Baxter 1-4, Swift 1-4, Leather 0-1, Mosley 0-4). Fouled out-Barber. Rebounds-Louisville 45 (Diakite 7), South Florida 33 (Morris 8). Assists-Louisville 18 (Garcia 5), South Florida 7 (Mosley 3). Total fouls-Louisville 23, South Florida 21. A-7,011.

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