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UofL pulls away from Seton Hall


January 9, 2013

Newark, NJ.

Gorgui Dieng led Louisville to a win over Seton Hall


No Chane, no problem. Playing without starting forward Chane Behanan, Louisville broke open a 36-34 halftime lead to pull away from Seton Hall Wednesday night for a 73-58 win. Now 14-1, the third-ranked Cardinals improved to 2-0 in Big East play.

Gorgui Dieng and Montrezl Harrell picked up the slack inside against the Pirates. Dieng scored 12 first half points, and finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Harrell, who started for the injured Behanan, added 14 points and three rebounds. Russ Smith made just 2-11 shots, but chipped in 11 points and 6 assists. Luke Hancock made two big second half threes, and Kevin Ware ignited the Cards offense with a pair of transition baskets off the bench after the break.

Though Rick Pitino wasn't happy with UofL's defense in the first half, the Cardinals shut down Seton Hall, one of the top three-point shooting teams in college basketball, in the second half. The Pirates made just 4-16 3's, and shot 34 percent from the floor. UofL forced 16 turnovers and had 33 deflections against the Pirates.


"We did a great job in the second half defensively. I was either going to have a break down or they were going to guard in the second half because this is not the type of defense I want to play. But the second half was. Like I told our guys, 'You either buy into championship defense or you'll be a Sweet 16 team.' I think they got the message loud and clear."

"I think we played average defense in the first half. We had only nine deflections. Going into the first [second half] timeout we had nine deflections and we ended up with 33 with only nine in the first half. That's the type of pressure you have to have. We played the type of defense in the second half that I want to see. I know offensively we're a good basketball team. I know that. But ever since we left the Bahamas we haven't been playing the type of defense I want to see." - - Rick Pitino


"They really did a good job focusing on me not getting any open looks. They got out on me pretty fast. It's a little frustrating, because I wasn't making plays for my teammates and I have to take the blame for that." - - Seton Hall leading scorer Fuquan Edwin


"I'm beginning to feel good about the way I'm playing. Coach tells me that he needs me to get back and do the things I used to do. I was able to get a lot of touches inside and I made the shots. I still think I need to get back to blocking four or five shots a game. That's what I need to get, then I'll think I'm back." - Gorgui Dieng


Gorgui Dieng still has a brace on his left wrist, but he appeared healthy against Seton Hall. Dieng led Louisville with 16 points, connecting on 8-8 free throws. Dieng also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, controlling the defensive glass with 10 boards on that end of the court. Add three blocked shots, two assists and a steal and it's clear Dieng is ready for Big East action.


Louisville seized control midway through the second half with a 12-2 spurt that broke open a tie game. Tied at 42, Montrezl Harrell slammed an alleyoop from Peyton Siva that energized Louisville with 11:24 remaining. Russ Smith scored on a run out seconds later and the Cardinals were off and running. Back to back 3s from Luke Hancock gave UofL an eight point margin, and Stephan Van Treese capped the spurt with a pair of free throws.


Montrezl Harrell came up big for Louisville with Chane Behanan sidelined. Louisville's talented freshman forward scored 14 points on 7-9 field goal shooting, and also made two steals. Though he only grabbed three rebounds, his second half slam dunk ignited Louisville's key run.


Peyton Siva and Russ Smith didn't play their best in New Jersey. Smith couldn't shoot straight, committed four turnovers and drew Pitino's ire for playing poor first half defense. Siva finished with 7 points, 7 assist and four steals, but didn't assert himself offensively. Louisville's starting guards combined to make just 4-17 field goals and committed seven turnovers.


With Behanan sidelined by a bad ankle and Siva and Smith struggling offensively, Louisville's bench delivered key plays in the second half to help the Cards pull away for the win. Kevin Ware jump started Louisville's offense with a pair of transition backets early in the second half. Luke Hancock made a pair of threes during UofL's decisive spurt, and Stephan Van Treese contributed four points and three rebounds. The trio combined for 17 points.


25 percent -- Seton Hall entered the game leading the Big East in three-pointers made and ranked second in 3-point field goal percentage. Though Rick Pitino wasn't pleased with his team's first half defense, Louisville didn't allow the Pirates to get going from deep. Seton Hall made just 4 of 16 three's, a paltry 25 percent. After Brandon Mobley and Aaron Cosby made 3's in the games first five minutes, UofL's perimeter defense allowed only two deep shots the rest of the contest.


Louisville went on the road Wednesday without starting forward Chane Behanan, and didn't receive great performances from Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. The Cardinals still beat Seton Hall by 15. Why? Depth, defense and the inside strength of Gorgui Dieng and Montrezl Harrell. Despite Behanan's absence from the lineup, Louisville's bench proved the difference for the Cards. Kevin Ware and Luke Hancock made key plays down the stretch, and Stephan Van Treese provided quality minutes in the frontcourt. And the defense, despite Pitino's first half concerns, suffocated the Pirates when it mattered most in the second half. Gorgui Dieng played his best game since returning to the lineup and Montrezl Harrell showed he's capable of producing in the starting lineup against Big East opposition.


Louisville hosts South Florida Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center.

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