University of Louisville junior guard Chris Jones said coach Rick Pitino pointed out during halftime that his team didn't have a steal in the first 20 minutes.
"He wasn't too happy," Jones said with a smile.
But the Cardinals made up for it in the second half, forcing 13 turnovers and getting nine steals in the final 20 minutes of an 85-56 victory.
"We have to play defense," Jones said. "We only had seven deflections (in the first half), so he didn't like that at all. We needed to step up.
"We know we still have to get better as the season keeps going along."
Pitino said the defense still "needs a lot of work," but the Cardinals did play better in the final 20 minutes. Jones had five of the nine steals.
Terry Rozier, Luke Hancock, Chane Behanan and Stephan Van Treese also had one steal apiece for the Cardinals, who held the Panthers to 10 of 28 – 1 of 9 three-pointers – shooting in the second half.
"We're still struggling with our zone," Pitino said.
The Cardinals never trailed in the game and moved to 11-1 as they'll next play Kentucky on Saturday in Rupp Arena.
"It all started with defense," senior Russ Smith said. "We did a few things that had coach P pretty hot. We just have to keep working at it."