Cards bounce back; Blowout DePaul

No. 5 Louisville (19-5, 10-2) bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Notre Dame with an impressive 99-54 win over DePaul Sunday afternoon at Freedom Hall.

Rick Pitino punished his team after its most lopsided loss of the season. But the players responded with their two best practices of the season, according to Pitino, and with their biggest victory of it. UofL dominated DePaul 99-54 Sunday in front of 19,322 fans at Freedom Hall.

"The team obviously had two great practices, probably the best two of the season..and we got the fruits of our labor," Pitino said. "Yesterday was the first time all season I thought we could be a damn good basketball team...we did a great job of executing in practice."

"We just wanted to come in here, put that game behind us and get another victory," junior forward Earl Clark added.

Behind a near triple-double - 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists - from the player known as "E5," and 19 points in 13 minutes from sophomore guard Preston Knowles, the fifth-ranked Cardinals (19-5, 10-2 in the Big East Conference) bounced back from that 33-point loss. They also moved into a second-place tie with Pittsburgh and Marquette in the Big East. All three are one loss behind Connecticut, which hosts Pitt on Monday night.

If UofL had the blues from that loss to Notre Dame it certainly didn't show against the Blue Demons (8-18, 0-13). The Cards scored the first 13 points of the game and never looked back.

They were sparked early by junior forward Reginald Delk. Delk got his first career start in place of senior Terrence Williams, who is still nursing a right forearm bruise.

Delk responded by scoring five quick points - including a basket off the opening tip four second into the game - as UofL ran out to the 13-0 lead.

Louisville slammed DePaul Sunday afternoon.

DePaul, meanwhile, missed eight of its first nine shots.

UofL had scored 19 first-half points in its last two games (against St. John's and Notre Dame), but the Cards reached that mark 7:48 into Sunday's game on a free throw by Terrence Jennings.

"We just picked up our passing," Delk said of a Cards' team that finished one shy of their season-high with 25 assists.

The fun continued from there for the Cards. UofL, which shot 23.2 percent in the first half against Notre Dame, shot 57.1 percent (20 of 35) in the first 20 minutes versus the Blue Demons to lead 51-21 at intermission.

The Cards also hit 9 of 19 threes in the first half. About the only thing they couldn't do was make free throws - they were just 2 of 6.

UofL shot the ball even better in the second half - 61.3 percent and 52.9 from three-point range - as it shot 59.1 percent (39-for-66) for the game and made a season-high 18 three-pointers.

Knowles highlighted UofL's long-range proficiency, making 5 of 7 from downtown.

"If I would've kept Preston in there he would've got as many as (Kentucky's Jodie) Meeks did yesterday," Pitino quipped in his post-game press conference.

Dar Tucker scored 17 points - including an incredible windmill dunk off an alley-oop - to lead DePaul, which shot 34.5 percent (20 of 58) from the field.

"(Louisville) shot the ball terrific," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright said. "They took great shots. I got some phone calls after the Louisville-Notre Dame game and I think a few people administered us last rights after the game was over. (But) I do no think that Louisville needed a wake-up call. I think sometimes that you just have one of those games."

Samardo Samuels added 12 points and Jerry Smith 11 for the Cards. "He took a fall right on it yesterday in practice, as bad as I've seen, we thought he'd broke it," Pitino said. "But he should be fine for Providence."

UofL hosts Providence at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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