Analysis: Cards pound Rutgers

Louisville won their fourth straight Big East game with an impressive 78-66 win over Rutgers Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. breaks down the Cardinals strong performance....

No. 25 Louisville (18-5, 6-4) won their fourth straight game with an impressive 78-66 win over Rutgers Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center to set up Monday's showdown against UConn. The Scarlet Knights had no answer for Chane Behanan, who led the Cardinals with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Though Rutgers cut the lead to three midway through the second half after head coach Mike Rice was ejected, Louisville used a 12-0 spurt to pull away. The win improves Louisville Big East record to 6-4 after starting league play 2-4. Here's instant analysis of the game:

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Louisville went on a 15-3 run midway through the second half after Rutgers cut the Cards lead to three, 53-50 with 13:04 remaining. Chane Behanan began Louisville's game-winning run with an offensive rebound slam and Chris Smith capped the run with a thunderous lefthand jam while fouled. That three-point play gave Louisville an insurmountable 68-53 with just over five minutes remaining.

KEY STATS: 40-22.
Though Rutgers out-shot Louisville 10-4 behind the three-point arch and forced 18 turnovers, the Cardinals controlled the boards. Behanan, who had eight offensive rebounds, helped Louisville to an 18-2 advantage in second chance points. With no answers for keeping the Cardinals off the boards, Louisville dominated inside, out-scoring the Scarlet Knights 38-22 inside the paint.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chane Behanan was a dominant force for Louisville and his play inside, particularly on the offensive glass, propelled the Cards to their fourth straight Big East win. Behanan made his first 10 shots and finished 11-12 from the field, missing his only attempt from three-point range. Behanan also grabbed 11 rebounds and two steals.

Chris Smith's left-handed jam punctuated Louisville's 78-66 win over RU.
BIG PLAY: Chris Smith's left-handed throw down to cap Louisville's game-clinching, second half run was a thing of beauty and without doubt was the play of the game. Driving left, Smith beat his man off the bounce, then somehow powered home an impressive jam with his off-hand while being fouled. He converted the free throw to give Louisville a 68-53 advantage late in the game.

TURNING POINT: Mike Rice's technical fouls and ejection certainly was a turning point in the contest, allowing Louisville to turn a six point lead into a 10-point advantage late in the first half. But the major turning point came when Gorgui Dieng returned to action after injuring his ankle early in the second half. With Dieng out, Rutgers cut Louisville's lead to three. When Dieng came back three minutes later, Louisville put the game out of reach with a 12-0 run. During that stretch, Dieng grabbed three defensive rebounds and blocked a shot.

BENCH PLAY: Peyton Siva was forced to the bench after he picked up two early first half fouls, but Russ Smith picked up the offensive slack, sparking Louisville to a 41-36 halftime lead with 11 first half points. Smith played 20 minutes and did commit four turnovers, but made two slick assists and grabbed four boards.

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