Cards Soar Past Eagles 99-52

Senior Larry O'Bannon scored a career-high to help fuel the No.12 Cardinals dominating victory over Conference USA rival Marquette.

Larry O'Bannon made six 3-pointers and scored 30 points, both career highs, to help No. 12 Louisville rout Marquette 99-52 on Wednesday night, the Golden Eagles' most-lopsided loss ever.

O'Bannon also had five rebounds and seven assists, and Francisco Garcia added 14 points for the Cardinals (17-3, 5-1 Conference USA), who snapped a three-game home losing streak to the Golden Eagles and won for the 11th time in 12 games.

Since a 60-58 loss to Kentucky on Dec. 18, Louisville has won 11 home games by an average of 28 points.

Todd Townsend had 17 points, and Marcus Jackson grabbed 12 rebounds for the Golden Eagles (14-5, 2-4), who previous worst defeat was a 57-12 loss to Creighton in 1940.

Marquette played without senior point guard Travis Diener, who aggravated a left ankle sprain in the Eagles' 76-66 loss to Charlotte on Saturday. The 6-foot-1 Diener, Conference USA's assist leader and second-leading scorer, had played in 114 consecutive games.

The Eagles missed the sure-handed Diener from the start, committing seven turnovers in the first 11 minutes.

Juan Palacios' 3-pointer with 9:18 left in the half gave Louisville a 21-13 lead and launched a 14-5 spurt.

O'Bannon dismantled Marquette's defense during the run, hitting two 3-pointers, driving for a dunk and feeding Palacios for a layup that made it 35-18.

Townsend hit two 3-pointers to help Marquette cut it to 43-30 by halftime.

O'Bannon scored 17 points in the first half and set a career high by hitting all five of his 3-point attempts.

He had a layup, hit a free throw and assisted on Garcia's 3-pointer in the first 4 minutes of the second half as Louisville's lead bulged to 51-32.

Two years ago in Freedom Hall, the Golden Eagles recovered from a 19-point first-half deficit to beat the Cardinals.

Not this time.

O'Bannon hit his sixth 3-pointer, and Garcia scored eight straight points during a 17-0 Louisville run. O'Bannon punctuated his career night with a steal and breakaway dunk with 5:12 left, which put Louisville up 90-46 and prompted chants of "Lar-ree! Lar-ree!" from the capacity crowd.

The overwhelmed Eagles were 5-of-24 from the field in the second half.

The Cardinals had lost six of the previous seven meetings in a series that has evolved into a bitter rivalry.

Last year, after Marquette's 81-80 win in Milwaukee, Eagles coach Tom Crean found a Louisville scouting report that contained phony quotes attributed to him.

Two years ago in Louisville, Cardinals' forward Ellis Myles sustained a season-ending knee injury late in the Eagles' 78-73 win. Myles said later he heard Crean accuse him of faking the injury.

During pregame warmups Wednesday, Crean shook hands with Myles and the two had a brief, cordial conversation.


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