LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Mike Marra and Peyton Siva scored 14 points apiece as Louisville rolled by Seton Hall 73-54 on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals (12-2, 1-0 Big East) shook off a disappointing loss to rival Kentucky on New Year's Eve by burying the Pirates (7-8, 1-2) early. Louisville needed just 10 minutes to build a 22-point lead as the Pirates lost their second straight under an avalanche of missed shots.
Seton Hall shot a season-low 29 percent (18 of 62) from the field and turned it over 14 times. Fuquan Edwin led the Pirates with 18 points and nine rebounds and Jeff Robinson added 14 points, but Seton Hall wasn't competitive when it mattered.
The loss proved to be a bittersweet homecoming for Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, a former Louisville assistant under Rick Pitino. He exchanged a warm handshake at the buzzer with his mentor and his father Ralph Willard, a member of Pitino's staff.
It was the first act of mercy Pitino showed on his protege. The Cardinals swarmed the Pirates in the lane, holding a 46-35 rebounding advantage and blocking nine shots.
Not bad for a team without a healthy power forward. Both Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire are out with injuries, yet the undersized Cardinals held their own against the Pirates, thanks to contributions from unlikely sources.
Senior center George Goode made his second career start and provided some life, hitting a pair of elbow jumpers in the opening minutes. Little-used sophomore forward Stephan Van Treese, who has drawn Pitino's ire for his inconsistent play, added some toughness on the boards, grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds.
Maybe their productivity stunned the Pirates. Seton Hall missed its first nine shots. By the time Herb Pope ended the drought, the Pirates already trailed 10-2.
Things didn't get much better for Seton Hall. Louisville scored the game's next 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers by Marra. The sophomore forward was mired in a woeful shooting slump last month before missing two games with a sprained ankle. He came back briefly against Kentucky but was ineffective, missing all three of his shots in 11 minutes.
Marra's touch, however, returned against the Pirates. He made 3 of 5 3-pointers and didn't force it while posting his highest output in a month.
Louisville relaxed with a 24-2 lead and Seton Hall tried to gather itself, eventually getting within 28-16 before the Cardinals were able to move back in front 36-21 at the half.
Any hopes of a rally by the Pirates died in the opening minutes after the break. Louisville opened the second half with a 15-5 burst capped by a Gorgui Dieng dunk.
The Pirates eventually found their footing but by then it was too late. Pitino angrily called time out when Seton Hall went on a 10-0 run to close within 58-40 with 7:30 to go.
It was all the Cardinals needed to close things out and help Pitino improve to 24-6 all-time against former assistants.
Louisville's leading scorer Preston Knowles had just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting but tied a career high with nine boards as all five Louisville players attacked the glass to make up for their size disadvantage.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved