Cards still too much for Houston

By LINDA YOUNKIN State Journal Sports Writer Published:

LOUISVILLE - No Pitino, no Garcia, no Dean.

Things were certainly different on Planet Red Wednesday night except for one thing - winning.

Louisville's basketball team ran its winning streak to 16 games Wednesday with a 64-48 victory over Houston at Freedom Hall.

The Cardinals did it without head coach Rick Pitino, out on medical leave. He's expected back at practice today.

U of L starters Francisco Garcia, with a sprained ankle, and Taquan Dean, with a groin injury, watched Wednesday's game from the bench in street clothes.

All this made for quite a challenge for 28-year-old assistant coach Kevin Willard, who assumed the head coaching duties in Pitino's absence.

"I'm very happy," Willard said after the game. "The guys have had a lot of distractions the last couple days, but they came out focused and did a good job. I'm very happy."

Pitino, who checked into the Cleveland Clinic Tuesday morning because of severe pain in his left side, spoke to the team Wednesday afternoon.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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