DePaul (10-14, 5-7) came out of the locker room at halftime trailing 39-31. Louisville (19-6, 9-3) then proceeded to go on a run. The Cardinals turned up their signature pressure defense which managed to score 27 points off of 16 DePaul turnovers.
The biggest weakness for DePaul for the last month has been their interior defense. Louisville capitalized on that weakness by repeatedly sending center David Padgett (20 points) and forward Terrence Williams (22 points) inside. Both shot nine of 12 from the field. The Cardinals racked up 32 total points in the paint.
"We were doing a great job of attacking inside," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
Padgett, who returned from a broken kneecap this season, has been playing his best basketball of his career. "My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball when I was open," Padgett said.
"He's a different ballplayer now that he's 100%," Pitino said of his senior center.
"We can't play better than that," Pitino said. "That's as good as we can play. We have a lot of respect for DePaul, that's why we came out so fired up and played so well."
Senior guard Draelon Burns and sophomore guard Will Walker were the heroes of Saturday's DePaul win over South Florida. Tonight both struggled from the field. Walker scored 15 points on six of 14 from the field. While Burns shot zero for five from three point range, three of 14 from the field and managed 11 points.
Both Burns and Walker had difficulty with the Louisville zone in the halfcourt. "They were extending a lot, it was tough to get in there," Walker said.
Louisville is able to extend their zone because they have an excellent anchor in Padgett. "I think they do a really, really good job of getting out on shooters," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright said. "The key to their defense is David Padgett. He's so physical inside."
The bright spot for the Blue Demons was the play of freshmen Mac Koshwal and Darquavis Tucker. Tucker led the way for DePaul with 22 points while Koshwal grabbed a career high 15 rebounds and scored eight points.
The Blue Demons are struggling to stay alive for the Big East tournament in March. Pitino related to where DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright stands. "The toughest thing about this conference is you're one or two players away," said Pitino. "It's so tough in the Big East to make those strides. He'll get it done because he's one of premier coaches in our game."
Louisville Rolls Over DePaul 88-68
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