Cards' defense dooms DePaul

By LINDA YOUNKIN State Journal Sports writer Published:

LOUISVILLE - Look at the statistics from Wednesday's Louisville-DePaul basketball game and the Cardinals' 61.5 percent shooting in the second half might catch your eye.

But that stat tells just part of the story.

It was U of L's defense that played the biggest role in the Cardinals' 71-43 win at Freedom Hall.

"DePaul is a tough, hard-nosed basketball team," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We just have more numbers, and our defense is as hard working as any team I've coached. We just get after it, get after it, get after it. We work hard and understand what it takes to win, and I'm proud of the guys for that."

Both teams struggled from the field early, and Louisville's freshmen - Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean - scored the team's first 12 points.

DePaul led 15-13 with 8:21 left in the first half, but a layup by Marvin Stone tied the game, and a three-pointer by Reece Gaines gave U of L an 18-15 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left in the half. The Cardinals wouldn't trail again.

By halftime the lead was 31-23, and Louisville opened the second half outscoring the Blue Demons 13-4 for a 44-27 advantage. During the run the Cardinals had three three-pointers - from Dean, Erik Brown and Bryant Northern - against the team with the best three-point defense in Conference USA.

For more on this story, see today's State Journal.

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