Padgett leads Louisville past UConn

Louisville (14-6, 4-2) only scored 18 points against UConn in the first half Monday night, but came out strong after halftime to score 50 points against the Huskies in a 68-54 Big East win.

Louisville only scored 18 points against UConn in the first half Monday night, but came out strong after halftime to score 50 points against the Huskies in a 68-54 Big East win.

Since falling to Notre Dame in their Big East opener three weeks ago, the Cardinals have now won four of their past five league games. Louisville center David Padgett led the way for Rick Pitino's squad with 19 points.

"David Padgett gave us a great lift," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.

UConn entered the game as one of the top shot-blocking and rebounding teams in the country. Louisville, though, neutralized the Huskies on the backboard 41-41, and despite four blocked shots by 7-3 freshman Hasheem Thabeet, the Cardinals starting frontcourt scored 53 points.

"If you lose the rebounding war, you can't beat UConn. You have got to stay even or stay within one," said Pitino. "You can't win the game if you lose that."

Louisville started slowly against UConn, struggling offensively in the first half. The Huskies weren't much better, but managed a 21-18 lead at the half. The Cardinals made just 22 percent of their first half shots, including only 1-of-11 from the beyond the arch.

But Louisville out-scored UConn after the break 50-33. The Cardinals also received solid performances from Terrence Williams, who scored 18 points to go with nine boards and Juan Palacios, who scored 16 points. Williams, Palacios and senior guard Brandon Jenkins each made three's early in the second half as Louisville built a 45-31 advantage.

"We made shots and we didn't turn the ball over," Pitino said of his team's strong second half performance.

Half of Louisville's points in the second half came from the free throw line. The Cardinals made an impressive 25-32 from the line after the break, 26-32 for the game.

Louisville, now 4-2 in the league, plays Syracuse at home Saturday in an important Big East game.


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